— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) August 26, 2017
As was suspected Friday night when Julian Edelman left the Patriots’ third preseason game with an injury, Edelman tore his ACL and will miss the entire 2017 season.
A lot of fans on social media were quick to decry the NFL preseason but the truth is that this injury could have happened at any time. Tom Brady didn’t play at all in the 2008 preseason and suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 of the regular season. Wes Welker tore his left ACL and MCL in Week 17 in 2009. Rob Gronkowski has suffered a wide range of injuries during his seven year career, including a broken arm while playing on field goal protection (!) against the Colts in Week 11 in 2012.
Time and again, the Patriots have shown the ability to adapt and not only survive, but excel. The Patriots won the Super Bowl last season despite not having Gronkowski for the last five games of the regular season or the playoffs. They won the Super Bowl in 2003 after cutting Lawyer Milloy four days before the start of the regular season. And they won 11 games in 2008 without Brady, becoming the first 11-win team to miss the playoffs in more than two decades.
This season will be no different. It’s always disappointing to see a star player go down, but Bill Belichick never lets emotions affect his team’s play. The Patriots still have a very talented wide receiver corps that includes Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola. Future hall of famer Rob Gronkowski is apparently healthy and ready to go, and the Patriots should still be able to cobble together a pretty good running game (to the chagrin of fantasy football players). With the AFC East still consisting of the Jets, Bills and Dolphins, it’s hard to bet against this team making it back to at least the AFC Championship game in January.
If you’re still down about Edelman, though, rest assured. He will be back, and it will be a hell of story in the updated afterword to his memoir in a few years.