How Julian Edelman stayed sharp during his suspension
/ Patriots

By Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- During the football season, Julian Edelman knows all about the 1 p.m. ET kickoff, as well as 4:25 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. He lives for game day.

But being away from the team during the time in which he served a four-game NFL suspension to open the 2018 season, Edelman grew accustomed to the 11 a.m. ET kickoff.

That’s when the team of people helping him, a group that notably included former teammate Rob Ninkovich, would arrive at various fields around Boston and its suburbs. This was the daily schedule -- whether it was at Harvard University in Cambridge; Ahern Middle School in Foxborough; Union Sports Complex in Weymouth; Milton Academy; Nobles and Greenough School in Dedham; Boston College in Chestnut Hill; and The Rivers School in Weston, which is also the alma mater of Patriots safeties coach Steve Belichick.

It worked well for Edelman, who beforehand would often focus on his conditioning at the Auerbach Center, the Boston Celtics’ sparkling new facility. Yes, there were a few competitive pingpong games with Gordon Hayward as well, with Edelman noting that Hayward used a special paddle while Edelman left his behind (maybe that explains the 9-1 edge for Hayward). The Patriots’ connections to the Celtics are well-documented: Coach Brad Stevens has visited training-camp practices, and more recently, Johann Bilsborough -- who heads the Celtics’ sports science department -- has lent his expertise to Bill Belichick and his staff as a director of...

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