After beginning training camp on the physically unable to perform list, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has been medically cleared to return to practice, according Field Yates of ESPN Boston.
Yates reported that Edelman was on the practice field Thursday for the first time since the Patriots opened camp, and head coach Bill Belichick confirmed that the fifth-year player out of Kent State had been cleared by the team's medical staff.
Edelman suffered a fracture in his right foot against Miami in early December last season, sidelining him for the Patriots' final four regular season game and their AFC Championship run. In nine games preceding his injury, he recorded 235 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The Patriots receiving corps has undergone a significant shuffle during the 2013 offseason. It lost dynamic slot man Wes Welker to the Denver Broncos during free agency, then brought Danny Amendola from the St. Louis Rams to help fill the void. Amendola is the favorite for the No. 1 wideout position, with second-round draft pick Aaron Dobson reportedly taking the majority of snaps at No. 2.
In addition, the team is without its top two tight ends from last season. Aaron Hernandez was cut by the team on June 26 after he became a suspect in the murder of Odin Lloyd, and has since been arrested on that charge. Pro Bowler Rob Gronkowski is still recovering from surgery to repair a nagging back injury he has battled with all offseason, and a date for his return remains unclear.