FOXBORO -- Think Julian Edelman had to work through some rust on Thursday?
"It's been a while," the receiver admitted. "So of course."
Edelman has been trying to get the better of his body since December, when he broke his foot during New England's Week 13 win over Miami. The team placed him on injured reserve immediately. Getting him back has not been such a straightforward process.
"You're around the facility and you see all your teammates out there having fun, at training camp, guys developing the team. It was just great to be out there and see faces."
It was reported Edelman was completely recovered by the time free agency rolled around. Yet no other teams took the bait and he re-signed with New England for one year, just $1.15 million, and no guaranteed money.
He hasn't made the Patriots regret their caution yet. A setback in his rehab put Edelman back in a walking boot. He missed the team's spring organized team activities and mini-camp.
Before Thursday practice, head coach Bill Belichick wryly noted he doesn't believe Edelman's injury "puts him ahead" of any competition. It sounds like the receiver is well aware. Though he said the four previous seasons give him a leg-up in terminology, there's still a lot he's missed.
"Obviously, it's new right now so I definitely have to get my legs under me. You know, work my way in and try to get a spot."
New England put five training camp sessions in the books before Edelman returned for limited participation. The team has already worked on red zone and goal line installation, and its hurry-up offense this week. Edelman didn't point to any one drill that made him feel he's behind.
It's more than that.
"Just in general. The duration of practice. 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."