However, he’s now looking at nearly an entirely new cast alongside him.
Wes Welker, who had at least 111 catches in five of his six seasons in New England, signed with Denver during the offseason, Brandon Lloyd (74 receptions last season) is no longer with the team, tight end Ron Gronkowski (55) is on the PUP list after undergoing back surgery in mid-June, tight end Aaron Hernandez (51) was released following a murder charge against him, and running back Danny Woodhead (40) signed with San Diego.
At the age of 27, Edelman now is one of the elder statesmen in the passing attack, and with five rookies among the 12 receivers in camp, his role is certain to change.
“If they ever have a question, they always ask,” he said of the younger players. “I try to help them out as much as possible.”
New England coach Bill Belichick knows his receiver has a long way to go before making an impact on the field.
“He wasn’t able to do much and he hasn’t done anything in camp other than work individually with the trainers and stuff. He watches and goes to meetings, but he can’t participate in anything. I certainly don’t think it puts him ahead,” Belichick said. “We’ve got other guys that are out there working, playing, practicing.
“He’s got some ground to make up. We’ll see how it goes.”
Edelman declined to speculate on the possibility of playing a bigger role in the offense in the wake of so many departures. He is simply concentrating on making the team.
“I’m not really thinking about that right now,” he said. “I’m just trying to work on my fundamentals, develop my game individually so I can help contribute to this team.
“Obviously it’s new right now, so I definitely have to get my legs under me, work my way in and try to earn a spot.”