Julian Edelman accepts responsibility for 4-game suspension

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman addressed his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances for the first time Saturday, saying he accepts the punishment.

"Obviously, you're disappointed with it, but I got to follow the protocols a little better and make sure this never happens again," Edelman said after the team's third practice of training camp. "I'm accountable for my actions."

Edelman, who missed the 2017 season after tearing his ACL in August, has been a full participant in training camp practices. He is often the first receiver to go through drills, and on Saturday, he spent time after practice working with quarterback Tom Brady.

"Ultimately, my focus now is getting my knee right and going out and trying to play football at a high level," Edelman said. "It was a helluva year to just sit and watch your team go to a Super Bowl and play without you and you're on the couch. It was tough. But I'm excited to be out here, and I'm excited to work my game."

Edelman can continue to practice with the Patriots through the preseason but won't be allowed at the team facility following the roster cutdown from 90 to 53 players on Sept. 1. He will miss games against the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins before being allowed to return to the facility.

The first game Edelman is eligible to play is on Thursday, Oct. 4, against the Indianapolis Colts.

Edelman has an idea of how he will stay sharp over the suspension, but that isn't a top priority for him now.

"Of course you're thinking about it, but right now my focus is tomorrow, and today, and learning from the film, and going and critiquing my cuts and critiquing my football ability right now," he said. "It's been 11 months since I've been able to run, out of surgery, so I'm focused on that. And it's good to be back out here and get to throw the pads on, compete, and go out and earn your teammates' trust, respect. And that's what I look forward to doing."

As for why he was suspended, Edelman didn't want to get into specifics.

"You know what? That's in the past, and I'm just moving on forward. I already addressed it, and you guys know me, short memory. So I'm done with it," he said. "... It's NFL policy not to even talk about it, so you guys know how that goes."

Asked about his relationship with athletic trainer Alex Guerrero, who is also Brady's trainer, Edelman said, "I love Alex, and ultimately I'm worried about just going out there and playing football. I'm not here to talk about, and make a headline on something. I'm just playing football."