Watch Now: Major questions for NFL teams: New England Patriots (1:31)

In case you haven't already heard, Tom Brady is not attending the Patriots' voluntary (and not fun) OTAs. But that didn't stop Brady from throwing touchdown bombs to Patriots receiver Julian Edelman.

At Harvard Stadium on Friday night, Brady hosted his annual Best Buddies Football Challenge, a touch football game for charity that featured current Patriots players like Brady, Edelman, and James White in addition to former Patriots like Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown. Brady apparently served as the designated quarterback for both teams, according to 

The final score? 112-112.

Heck, even ESPN's Adam Schefter got in on the scoring:


Edelman caught a touchdown of his own, according to's Ryan Hannable:

Even if it came during a meaningless charity game, that'll be a welcome site for Patriots fans. After all, Edelman missed the entire 2017 season due to a torn ACL that he suffered during the preseason. Edelman's return takes on even more importance after the Patriots shipped Brandin Cooks to Los Angeles and watched Danny Amendola depart for Miami this offseason, leaving a considerable void at receiver. 

According to Michael Giardi, the two have been working together this offseason.

The Patriots, meanwhile, continue to wait for Brady to return. To this point, Brady's yet to report to the team's offseason program and likely won't until the sessions become mandatory next week. Of course, nobody should be concerned by Brady's absence from voluntary OTAs, which are essentially meaningless for veteran players. But after all of the drama surrounding the Patriots over the past several months -- from that report on the conflict between Brady and Bill Belichick to the mysterious benching of Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl to the recent rumblings of the Patriots' anti-fun culture -- things won't begin to feel completely normal again until Brady, their beating heart, is back in uniform at the team facility.

When that happens, all will be good again and the Patriots will once again resume their role as the king of the NFL. Until then, the rest of the NFL should enjoy this period of relative instability when they can pretend like the small schisms in New England might end up mattering when we all really know who will likely reign supreme in the AFC next January.