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Assessing Julian Edelman's appeal of his suspension

Touching on some New England Patriots hot topics in mailbag form:

The odds of a player having a suspension overturned are long, but not impossible. In 2016, as an example, defensive tackle Alan Branch had a suspension for violating the NFL's substance-policy negated. The 2012 example of Richard Sherman winning an appeal of a suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing substances policy was based on his claim that there were errors in the chain of custody of his urine sample and mistakes made by the tester. As for Edelman, one thing I learned from defensive end Rob Ninkovich going through this situation is not to jump to any conclusions until we hear more about the player's side of the story. Ninkovich explained that he bought a supplement at a store and was unaware something he bought had a substance in it that would produce a positive test because it wasn't listed as an ingredient. Ninkovich had said that unless a supplement is NSF certified, there are no regulations that ensure that what is on the label is 100 percent accurate. So while Edelman apologized on Friday via his Instagram account, it didn't shed much more light on what might have led to the failed test as he said he doesn't know what happened. More details that specify what he might be appealing would help better project his odds at winning the appeal.

One of the obvious takeaways from watching the Patriots' mandatory minicamp this week was that Brady seems to be in good physical condition and was moving well. The quarterbacks do a mobility drill, and while Brady isn't fleet of foot, it's notable to see him continue to work in that area. I made the point to a fellow media member that while Brady is set to turn 41 in August, if you watched practice and didn't know his age, it would have looked similar to what we were watching a decade ago. Brady puts a lot of time into that part of his training, and that is easy to see on the field. Asked if he feels in a good place physically, Brady said, "Yup, absolutely."

While it's always possible, I don't see the Patriots signing Dez Bryant in the wake of Julian Edelman appealing his four-game suspension, in part because they still have a lot of in-house options to fill the void. One of the most important things now is for Tom Brady to get on the same page with some of the players who been with the team this offseason, the likes of Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Riley McCarron, etc. If there is an injury, perhaps the Patriots would consider Bryant or other veteran options on the market. But it's not like the cupboard is suddenly bare.