Before Julian Edelman captured the Super Bowl LIII MVP award, he endured the toughest spell of his career.
The New England Patriots wide receiver was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season after violating the NFL's policy against performance-enhancing substances.
"It was a low time," Edelman said on SiriusXM NFL Radio, according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio. "You're already battling mentally if you can do it like you did it. And then all of a sudden you have this, you're dealing with this, and then you're dealing with everyone outside of your life and what people are saying and dealing with and you can't really get too involved into because you're ultimately trying to get yourself back to playing football.
"It's not like you're 100 percent going out here and dealing with all these things, and you're fine. You still have a task at hand, and that was one of the biggest parts of my journey back - one of the toughest times where I really had to compartmentalize with how to deal with my injury, my suspension, with being a balanced family member and getting back from my injury. And that was a very tough time ... it was probably the toughest time of my life at that point."
Edelman has refused to discuss what led to his suspension, but apologized to fans and promised it would never happen again.
The Patriots recently signed the veteran receiver to a two-year, $18-million extension. He'll also be the subject of a documentary film called "100% Julian Edelman" airing June 28 on Showtime.