New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was activated Thursday and will make his 2018 season debut against the Indianapolis Colts, marking his return from a four-game PED suspension and the torn ACL that kept him out for the entire 2017 season.
Edelman can thank, in part, the Boston Celtics.
Edelman has spent time working out at the Celtics' new training facility in Boston, sources tell ESPN. Edelman spent a significant number of mornings around the Celtics' training staff and used the team's weight room.
And he frequently played pingpong against Celtics star Gordon Hayward, who was a high school tennis champion in Indiana.
"He's a good player," Hayward texted ESPN. "I haven't played against someone who moved like he did when he played. He was all over the place and low to the ground."
Hayward thinks he beat Edelman 9-1 in games, but as Hayward noted, "They were all close. It was fun getting a chance to hang out with him and compete in something. We were battling, and by the end we would have an audience watching."
On Thursday, Edelman also will have an audience watching -- with Hayward rooting for his hometown Colts. But this time, Edelman will play his regular sport on Thursday Night Football.
ESPN's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.