After battling knee problems last season, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is reportedly unlikely to play a full schedule in 2021.
Per Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, Edelman is "doubtful" to appear in all 17 games because of chronic knee issues.
Edelman appeared in New England's first six games last season before being placed on injured reserve on Oct. 31 after undergoing knee surgery.
Guregian noted additional surgery for Edelman can "provide temporary relief," but "nothing can solve the underlying problem."
Despite some hope that Edelman would be able to return late in the 2020 season, head coach Bill Belichick told reporters prior to Week 17 that the 34-year-old was "not going to play this year."
Belichick noted that Edelman didn't suffer any setback, but that he just wouldn't be ready in time for the Jan. 3 matchup with the New York Jets.
New England did position itself to have more depth at wide receiver and tight end in 2021 through free agency. The team signed Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith as pass-catchers.
Edelman has spent his entire career with the Patriots since being selected in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft. He ranks second in franchise history with 620 receptions, fourth with 6,822 receiving yards and ninth with 36 receiving touchdowns.
The Patriots owe Edelman $2.8 million in base salary this season. He will be eligible for free agency at the end of the 2021 campaign.