The New England Patriots opened the 2017 NFL offseason with a splash. They traded for New Orleans Saints star receiver Brandin Cooks and Tom Brady looked to be heading into the season with the best offense of his NFL career. However, things took a turn for the worse in the third preseason matchup with the Detroit Lions on Friday night. With only two minutes gone in the game, Brady’s favorite target Julian Edelman fell to a knee injury and the team carted him to the locker room.

Julian Edelman injury

There is no word on the extent of the Julian Edelman knee injury.

The injury happened on the very first drive of the game for the New England Patriots. Edelman was running an inside route and caught the pass at the 29-yard-line, beating Lions’ linebacker Jarrad Davis. Julian then planted his foot to head up the field at the 17, trying to avoid a hit from safety Tavon Wilson, and then lunged forward. It was immediately obvious that Edelman was hurt as he grasped the back of his right knee.

Julian Edelman was in the middle of a great pre-season game for the New England Patriots, with three receptions for 52 yards on that first drive alone. This was Edelman’s first major performance of the preseason as New England has been working with a lot of younger players.

Rookie free agent Austin Carr actually leads the team with eight receptions for the preseason. After Edelman left the game, New England used more veterans on the drive with Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Brandin Cooks coming into the game.

New England finished that opening drive with a Tom Brady seven-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan.

The loss of Julian Edelman

While the New England Patriots are hoping for the best when it comes to this Julian Edelman knee injury, they are still stacked at wide receiver. However, it will take a lot to make up for Edelman’s production. He led the Patriots in 2016 with 98 receptions and 1,106 yards. Julian missed seven games in 2015 and the Patriots suffered for it.

However, in the two seasons before that injury, Edelman averaged 98.5 receptions for 1,014 yards in 2013 and 2014.

Edelman just signed a two-year, $11 million contract extension in June and has $9 million guaranteed through the 2019 NFL season. Tom Brady hooked up with Edelman and Danny Amendola before training camp even started, working out together to prepare to try to repeat the Patriots Super Bowl winning ways this year.

After missing so much time in 2015, Julian Edelman worked hard to return in 2016 and said “There are so many things you have to sacrifice. I was obsessed with trying to get onto the field." There is no doubt that he will do the same this year as well.