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Julian Edelman's appeal of 4-game suspension denied

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Julian Edelman will officially miss the first four games of the 2018 season.

The New England Patriots wide receiver's appeal of his four-game suspension was denied, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday. Edelman's ban stems from a violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing substances policy.

An NFL spokesperson later confirmed the decision.

Edelman's representatives argued during his appeal last Monday that mistakes made in testing and other processes led to the suspension, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. The evidence presented was not enough to vacate the suspension or decrease the length of the ban.

The Patriots are used to not having Tom Brady's favorite receiver on the field. Edelman missed the entire 2017 season after suffering a torn ACL during a preseason tilt.  Now fully recovered, he took part in the Patriots' offseason program and was on the field during mandatory minicamp.

While Edelman will be out of the lineup for the Patriots' first four regular-season games against the Texans, Jaguars, Lions and Dolphins, the receiver remains eligible to take part in training camp and play in all Patriots preseason games.

Candidates to earn Edelman's targets in the receiver's stead include third-year option Malcolm Mitchell, trade acquisition Cordarrelle Patterson and all of New England's running backs -- James White, Sony Michel, Jeremy Hill and Rex Burkhead, especially.

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