Julian Edelman passes physical and is activated from NFI list, Demaryius Thomas remains on PUP

Tom Brady has his favorite weapon back. 

It wasn't a long absence for wide receiver Julian Edelman, who fractured his thumb in July, but seeing a player suffer no setbacks in a return from injury is always a positive thing. Edelman rejoined practice with his fellow New England Patriots on Monday, and has been activated from the non-football injury list, participating in his first full-padded practice since suffering the thumb injury -- per the official list of NFL transactions.

Brady is undoubtedly all smiles, seeing his top target and former Super Bowl MVP wideout back on the field.

Edelman is only one year removed from a career-best season in 2017, when he hauled in 1,106 receiving yards. He was hampered in 2018 by a suspension stemming from violation of the league's PED policy, but still finished near the 1,000-yard mark with 850 receiving yards -- also doubling his TD tally to six. Also one of the more sure-handed receivers the Patriots have on the roster, the re-addition of Edelman to a WR corps that is working to take shape can't be understated. The reinstatement of Josh Gordon adds instant potency as well, but questions will always hover over Gordon as he continues to battle addiction.

Edelman, however, has been mostly present and accounted for since the team selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 draft. 

He signed a two-year, $18 million contract with $12 million guaranteed this past May to remain with the club through the 2021 season. His presence combines with Gordon and first-round pick N'Keal Harry to make for what could be a suddenly potent WR corps, especially if Harry is again healthy -- currently battling a few injuries of his own -- along with Demaryius Thomas returning soon to join the mix. Harry is expected to play in the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, per Kevin Duffy of The Boston Herald, but Thomas remains on the physically unable to perform list for now. His availability remains in question, as he works to return from a torn Achilles suffered in December, but he has begun to do some work on the sidelines at practice. 

Thomas signed a one-year deal worth $6 million this offseason, and having him on the active roster for Week 1 would certainly help boost depth for the Patriots, but they're suddenly not nearly as anxious about the position as they were only a short time ago.

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