The Patriots receiver soon will serve his four-game suspension, but he hopes the time away will help his repaired knee to heal.

For Julian Edelman, reality is starting to set in.

All summer long, the receiver has worked hard to get his knee better and get in shape. He’s grinded out on the field with Tom Brady and put in extra work with the rest of his teammates as they get ready for the regular season. With Week 1 coming up soon, it also means that Edelman’s four-game suspension is also about to start.

On Saturday, Edelman won’t be allowed to work out or practice with his teammates at Gillette Stadium. As the New England Patriots take on the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins, Edelman will be forced to watch from afar. With the Patriots last preseason game coming up on Thursday, Edelman said it’s been a tough week.

“It is what it is. Real football starts soon. It’s definitely been a reality check,” Edelman said. “I’m not going to sit here and worry about things I can’t control. Ultimately, I put myself in this situation so it’s more of lets go and get myself ready for when I can play. You know, taking extra time to get my knee feeling great, getting my … ankles feeling great. This, that and everything because NFL football season is a grind. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Edelman wouldn’t disclose his plans, but said he has a plan for what he’ll do to stay in shape while away from the team. He also talked with Brady about the situation since the quarterback served a four-game suspension two years ago.

Considering this is his last week with the team, Edelman’s tried to do all he could to take advantage of the reps. He wouldn’t say if he’s going to play on Thursday against the New York Giants

“I definitely put a lot more value into these reps that I’ve had this week to go out and do extra,” Edelman said. “Yeah, I won’t be there for the first four. I don’t want to go into those week saying I wish I would’ve done this or I wish I would’ve done that, get a couple here. It’s been a hard week. Good week.”

Edelman came into this offseason as a limited practice participant due to the torn ACL he suffered last summer. He feels like he’s in a good place health wise. He hopes to keep trending in the right direction when he’s out for the next four weeks.

“It’s definitely feeling better and better. That’s for sure,” Edelman said. “There’s still things, you have days where it’s like, this is tired or this that. Our training staff has been working hard. They’ve been on top of it. Just doing all the little stuff, little exercises to keep stuff (strong). This, that. It’s been a grind.”

NFL TEAMS must finalize their 53-man rosters by Saturday afternoon. This means over 1,000 players will be cut in the coming days. A few dozen will be claimed by other teams.

Asked if he had an idea of who those Patriots players are, Coach Bill Belichick said, “Absolutely, yeah.”

He paused and said, “What do you think we’ve been doing?”

The comment elicited laughter from the media, and Belichick kept going.

“Yeah, we look at all 31 teams, yeah. What do you think we’re doing? We’re in camp. We don’t have watermelon rolls and badminton contests and all that,” Belichick said with a smirk.

“Yeah, we’re working on football. We look at our team, we look at all 31 teams.”

SONY MICHEL is back on the practice field, but the gifted rookie isn’t quite ready to go full tilt.

“He’s progressing pretty well,” Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears said. “He’s still under doctors’ care – they haven’t totally freed him up for us to do everything with him, so we’re doing everything we possibly can to keep him up to date. Anything we can do, walkthrough-wise, that’s not going to be a problem. … We’re keeping him up to date, but until he’s totally turned loose, he’s still limited right now.”

Michel suffered a knee injury on Aug. 1, causing him to miss 12 straight practices and three preseason games. He returned to practice on Monday, but his availability for Week 1 remains unknown.

According to Fears, Michel is staying involved in meetings and walkthroughs. Asked if he’s concerned about Michel falling behind, Fears will wait and see.

“We’ll see when he gets back. It’s kind of hard to say how much of a concern it’s going to be until we really see him when he gets back,” Fears said. “So, of course, as a coach we’re always worried about everything. Until I get my hands on him, I’m concerned.”

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