New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman took to social media Sunday to apologize to his fans and thank them for their support following his four-game suspension for violating NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.
"It’s been one heck of a few months and a crazy year," Edelman wrote in an Instagram post. "My deepest apologies to my family, friends, peers, coaches and fans."
Edelman, who lost his appeal of suspension earlier this month, thanked everyone for their support.
"What I can say, and what I am most thankful for, is the overwhelming support I have received from everyone. The love and support has truly helped me through what has been a challenging time," the post went on to say. "Whether it’s a person walking down Newbury street, or someone next to me filling up their gas tank saying they have my back. I can’t thank Pat’s Nation enough. It inspires me to go out and work that much harder for you guys. Remember, tough times don’t last, tough people do."
Edelman, who is suspended without pay for the Patriots' first four regular-season games, will miss a home game against Houston, trips to Jacksonville and Detroit, plus a home game against Miami.
The 32-year-old wide receiver will be eligible to return to the Patriots' active roster on Oct. 1, enabling him to make his 2018 debut Oct. 4 against Indianapolis.
Edelman missed the 2017 season with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. He had 98 receptions in 2016, the third time in a four-year stretch that he caught over 90 passes.