Patriots receiver Julian Edelman's four-game suspension is upheld after appeal fails

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman's suspension is as official as it'll ever get. He won't escape his four-game ban.

On Tuesday, as first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that Edelman's appeal was denied, which means his four-game suspension has been upheld.

So, Edelman will miss the Patriots' games against the Texans, Jaguars, Lions, and Dolphins. He'll be eligible to return before the Patriots' fifth game of the season, which will be played against the Colts.

Edelman, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, was initially suspended a month ago for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. However, as our John Breech explained last week, there was reason to believe Edelman stood a chance to win his appeal:

According to ESPN.com, Edelman will be appealing his four-game suspension on Monday and the Patriots receiver plans to focus on two key points during his case. The first issue that could help Edelman is that the receiver tested positive for a unknown substance. As MMQB.com reported on June 11, the NFL had to have scientists analyze the substance because the league's drug testers didn't recognize it. 

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The other issue Edelman will use to try and win his case revolves around chain of custody. According to ESPN.com, Edelman's team believes there was a "mishandling of the documentation and delivery" of the receiver's test results. Apparently, the league made multiple errors when handling Edelman's tests.  

Apparently, those arguments did not work. As a result, Tom Brady will be without one of his favorite weapons at the beginning of the season. From 2013-16, Edelman averaged roughly 957 yards and five touchdowns per season. His four-game suspension will be exacerbated by the absence of Danny Amendola, who departed for Miami in free agency, and Brandin Cooks, who got traded to Los Angeles. 

Still, if any team is built to overcome the loss of a key player, it's the Patriots. This situation likely won't be the one to bring down the NFL's version of the Empire. The Patriots might not have Edelman for four games, but they'll figure out a way to replace him with a committee of pass catchers that includes the likes of Chris Hogan, Jordan Matthews, Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett, and Kenny Britt. Furthermore, the Patriots are a team that relies extensively on their running backs to catch passes coming out of the backfield and that likely won't change with James White still around. And then there's the simple fact that superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski did not retire. 

To put it simply, the Patriots will be fine without Edelman. And who knows, maybe the suspension will be the best thing for him considering he's coming off a torn ACL and could use some extra recovery time. The Patriots don't need Edelman in September. But they'll need him in January and probably February too.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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