New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman walks past members of the media as he steps on the field at the start of an NFL football practice, Thursday, July 26, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Steven Senne/Associated Press

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman posted an apology on Instagram after earning a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL‘s performance-enhancing drug policy.

My deepest apologies to my family, friends, peers, coaches and fans,” Edelman wrote. “…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.”

NFL Network’s James Palmer shared Edelman’s full post:

Earlier this month, the NFL denied Edelman’s appeal of the suspension. ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano reported Edelman’s case rested in part on “a mishandling of the documentation and delivery of Edelman’s test results.” The MMQB’s Albert Breer also reported the substance for which Edelman tested positive “wasn’t immediately recognizable.”

The Patriots made three additions to their receiving corps well before they had to account for Edelman’s absence in the first four games of the 2018 regular season. 

New England signed Jordan Matthews and acquired Cordarrelle Patterson in a trade with the Oakland Raiders. The team also used a sixth-round draft pick to select Miami Hurricanes wideout Braxton Berrios, who had 679 receiving yards and nine touchdowns as a senior in 2017.

They joined an offense that already included Kenny Britt, Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Malcolm Mitchell. All of that depth gives head coach Bill Belichick plenty of options to fill in for Edelman.

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