The reported four-game suspension of New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman could impact the team beyond his on-field contributions.
Edelman is facing a ban for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substances policy and plans to appeal the punishment, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.
However, an emerging subplot of the story is Edelman's ties to trainer Alex Guerrro, who also serves as Tom Brady's body coach and business partner and was alleged to be among the reasons behind a reported rift between the quarterback and head coach Bill Belichick last season.
Belichick banned Guerrero from both New England's team facilities and the sideline last season, and Edelman's PED violation isn't like to endear the trainer to the team's hierarchy despite the cozy relationship with the franchise's star quarterback.
Edelman has voiced his support for Guerrero's methods in the past, telling a Boston radio station last season: "I am a huge advocate of it. I feel like it helps me with a lot of my stuff and I like consulting with Alex."
However, those remarks came while the veteran receiver was rehabbing from a torn ACL that caused him to miss the entire 2017 campaign.
Guerrero, for his part, released a statement Thursday in which he expressed disappointment with the suspension while squelching the notion that his methods could be tied to Edelman's suspension.
"I've known Julian since his rookie year and he is a phenomenal athlete who takes his training seriously -- it's disappointing to hear today's news," said Guerrero in the statement. "Elite athletes sometimes work with multiple coaches and health professionals as part of their training. Here at our facility, we take a natural, holistic, appropriate and, above all, legal approach to training and recovery for all of our clients.
"And anyone who would suggest otherwise is irresponsible, and just plain wrong."
An ESPN report last season detailed a power struggle between Belichick and Brady over myriad issues, including the trade of former backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco and the four-time Super Bowl MVP's relationship with Guerrero.
Belichick reportedly was furious and demoralized when team owner Robert Kraft sided with Brady on the decision to trade Garoppolo, who won all five starts with the 49ers.
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