Source: Edelman passes physical, off NFI list

Edelman's thumb injury shouldn't create panic (1:58)

Field Yates and Tim Hasselbeck talk about the impact of Julian Edelman's injury on the Patriots offense with training camp around the corner. (1:58)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who missed the first three-and-a-half weeks of training camp with a thumb injury, was removed from the non-football injury list, a source told ESPN's Field Yates.

Edelman participated in his first practice Monday, and immediately shoots to the top of the receiver depth chart. The Super Bowl LIII Most Valuable Player is quarterback Tom Brady's go-to target, especially in critical situations. In three playoff games last year, Edelman totaled 26 catches for 388 yards (14.9 average). Edelman's 115 career postseason catches is second in NFL history, behind Jerry Rice (151).

The Patriots had been thin at receiver in recent practices due to a string of injuries, but Edelman's return -- coupled with Josh Gordon's conditional reinstatement -- has altered the outlook. Gordon remains on the non-football injury list for now.

Before practice Monday, coach Bill Belichick was asked about the competition that has unfolded at receiver, and noted a group of receivers who had yet to practice -- a reference to Edelman, Gordon, Cameron Meredith (non-football injury list) and Demaryius Thomas (physically unable to perform list).

"There's still a lot of people we haven't seen actively on the field, so 'to be determined,' " he said.

Edelman is no longer part of that list for the Patriots, who host the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night in preseason action.