Julian Edelman's suspension upheld after appeal

New England Patriots wideout Julian Edelman's appeal of his four-game suspension was denied, the NFL announced Tuesday.

Edelman's appeal -- contesting his violation of the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy -- was heard last Monday and reportedly focused on two points: the identity of the substance for which he is being suspended, and alleged mishandling of his drug sample during the testing process.

Various reports have said that Edelman's positive test was for a substance that was not immediately recognizable.

Now upheld, the suspension will keep him out of games at home against the Houston Texans, on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions, and at home against the Miami Dolphins. He will forfeit approximately $471,000 of his $2 million base salary this year.

Edelman is eligible to return to the Patriots on Oct. 1, the day after the Dolphins game and three days before a Thursday night contest against the Indianapolis Colts.

The 32-year-old apologized on Instagram for the positive test a day after news of it broke, writing, "I don't know what happened." He added that he has taken "many, many tests obviously over the course of my career, and nothing like this has ever happened."

Edelman's personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, released a statement the day before Edelman's apology defending the integrity of his facility, the TB12 Sports Therapy Center. Guerrero started the facility with Tom Brady and works with several Patriots players -- including Brady, Edelman and Rob Gronkowski -- a matter that has reportedly been a source of tension between Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.

Entering his 10th season, Edelman hasn't played since the team's Super Bowl LI victory in February 2017. He missed all of last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a preseason contest.

He returned to the field during the Patriots' mandatory minicamp in June after previously attending voluntary organized team activities.

In nine NFL seasons, including last year's campaign that was wiped out by injury, Edelman has 425 receptions for 4,540 yards and 24 touchdowns. He made 98 grabs for 1,106 yards and three scores in 2016.

The Patriots will turn to their depth to replace Edelman in the short term. The team acquired receivers Jordan Matthews (free agency) and Cordarrelle Patterson (trade) this offseason, and also took slot receiver Braxton Berrios out of Miami in the sixth round of the draft.

--Field Level Media