FOXBOROUGH — Julian Edelman went from being one of the younger New England receivers to a seasoned veteran.
All it took was one year.
Edelman, who signed a one-year deal in the offseason but opened training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list, was medically cleared to return to action and practiced with the Patriots yesterday for the first time since fracturing his right foot Dec. 4, 2012 at Miami.
The fifth-year receiver appeared to make it through the two-hour session without any setbacks. He ran sprints, caught passes and even returning a punt in his shoulder pads and helmet.
The only issue, Edelman admitted, was fatigue.
“The duration of practice,” he said. “These guys are in shape out here, running around with all this fast-tempo stuff. The train’s moving and I’ve got to catch up.”
Edelman underwent a procedure on his injured foot in the offseason, sidelining him longer than he would have liked. Yet he was around the team as much as possible, attending meetings, working with trainers and putting in the work necessary to return to the field.
“You’re around the facility and you see all your teammates out there having fun, training camp, guys developing, the team — it was great to be out there and see faces,” he said. “(I’m) just focused on coming out here, getting the feet down, running around on the grass, having fun and playing football.”
Edelman’s return was welcomed by quarterback Tom Brady, especially since his top five targets from last season are either no longer with the team or are injured.
“Tom Brady’s Tom Brady,” Edelman said. “It’s more of me having to work on what I have to work on. The ball’s going to be there.”
It should be headed in Edelman’s direction more this season after a decent effort last year. Edelman hauled in 21 catches for 235 yards and three touchdowns before missing the final four regular-season games.