Julian Edelman is certainly a compelling story.

  • A diminutive guy with a bushy beard Phil Haynes Jersey , picked in the final round of the draft, defying the odds to become one of the NFL’s top receivers.And, now, a Super Bowl MVP.But let’s not forget one other fairly important element to this story:He cheated.Edelman was honored Monday for his 10-catch, 141-yard performance the previous night, the only discernable bright spot offensively in a dreary Super Bowl won by the New England Patriots. Commissioner Roger Goodell — the same guy who said with a straight face five days earlier that Colin Kaepernick’s two-years-and-counting banishment from the league for protesting social injustice was merely a football decision made independently by 32 franchises — was all smiles as he handed Edelman his silver, football-shaped prize known as the Pete Rozelle Trophy.“Well deserved. Extraordinary performance, and not just last night, but his performance in postseason has been simply off the charts,” Goodell said. “Julian, congratulations. Come on up and get your trophy.”There was no mention of Edelman being suspended for the first four games of the season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.In his brief opening remarks, the receiver talked of the “ups and downs” the Patriots had been through, what he called “just the ebbs and flows of the season.”Then came the first question.“You missed last year (with a torn ACL), you come back this year and have a four-game suspension, talk about fighting back through adversity and coming out on the other end as the Super Bowl MVP,” the reporter said, a tone of admiration In his voice. “What did that mean to you, through all the work that you put in?”Coming off a serious knee injury Ugo Amadi Jersey , there’s no doubt Edelman worked extremely hard to make it back at age 32, when there was plenty of skepticism that he’d ever be as effective as he was before.But it’s also worth noting that Edelman gave his rehab an illicit boost by taking a PED, undoubtedly looking to improve the odds of returning to the field on the downside of his career.Edelman apologized for his mistake, expressed the usual confusion that all cheaters rely on when they’re caught, but never revealed the substance in question. He served the suspension and returned to put up roughly the same prorated numbers as he did in 2016, before his injury, catching 74 passes for 850 yards and six touchdowns over the final 12 games of the regular season.He was even better in the playoffs.Edelman hauled in nine catches for 151 yards in a divisional-round victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. He had seven receptions for 96 yards in the thrilling overtime triumph at Kansas City in the AFC championship game. Finally, he provided an offensive spark in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever, helping the Patriots knock off the Los Angeles Rams 13-3.Now, if Edelman was a Major League Baseball player or an Olympic athlete, he probably wouldn’t have had a chance to shine on the big stage.The MLB’s doping policy has a provision that prevents anyone who tests positive from taking part in the postseason that year, even if they’ve already served their full penalty. The extra sanction was added in 2014 after All-Stars Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz returned from doping suspensions in time to participate in the playoffs, which rightfully angered other players.The World Anti-Doping Agency went down the same path, doubling the potential penalty for a first-time doping offender from two to four years, a way of ensuring that those blatantly caught cheating would have to miss the next Olympics.But the NFL has never shown it’s all that serious about stamping out doping, nor has the players union. At the very least, those who test positive for PEDs should face an eight-game suspension — half the regular season — and a postseason ban. Stricter testing rules, in line with international standards Dwayne Haskins Jersey , should also be imposed, perhaps in tandem with relaxed restrictions on pot use and approval of medical marijuana to help deal with the chronic pain so many current and former players must endure.Those of us in the media should also take a hard look at whether there are racial overtones to the way we look at those who violate the rules.Edelman faced little real criticism over his doping violation, perhaps because he’s usually gushed over with that convenient stereotype applied to so many white players: undersized, not as talented as those around him, someone who makes up for it with his intelligence and work ethic. There are undoubtedly fans, and perhaps even members of the media, who feel Edelman was merely showing just how dedicated he is to the game by doing whatever it took to get back on the field after a serious injury.He was rightly lauded for his accomplishments — but let’s not forget that other thing.He cheated.

    JAGUARS (12-6) at PATRIOTS (14-3)

    Sunday, 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS

    OPENING LINE – Patriots by 9 1/2

    RECORD VS. SPREAD – Jaguars 9-7, Patriots 11-5

    SERIES RECORD – Patriots lead 10-1

    LAST MEETING – Patriots beat Jaguars 51-17, Sept. 27, 2015

    LAST WEEK – Jaguars beat Steelers 45-42; Patriots beat Titans 35-14

    AP PRO32 RANKING – Jaguars No. 10, Patriots No. 1

    JAGUARS OFFENSE – OVERALL (6), RUSH (1), PASS (17)

    JAGUARS DEFENSE – OVERALL (2), RUSH (21), PASS (1)

    PATRIOTS OFFENSE – OVERALL (1), RUSH (10) D.K. Metcalf Jersey , PASS (2)

    PATRIOTS DEFENSE – OVERALL (29), RUSH (20), PASS (30)

    STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES -Patriots are 3-1 in playoffs against Jaguars. Lone Jacksonville win was 25-10 in 1998 wild-card round when Tom Coughlin was Jacksonville’s coach and Pete Carroll coached New England. … Patriots have won past seven meetings overall and two straight in postseason. … Since Jaguars entered NFL in 1995, they are 1-10 (.091) against Patriots, including playoff games. That’s worst winning percentage of any team vs. one opponent (minimum 10 games) in that span. … Jaguars seeking first trip to Super Bowl, one of four franchises (Lions, Texans, Browns) never to get there. … Jaguars are making third appearance in AFC title game in their 23-year history and first since 1999 season. … Jacksonville lost 20-6 to New England in AFC title game on Jan. 12, 1997. … Jacksonville can become 11th team to defeat top two seeds from their conference in same postseason since 1990 when current playoff format was adopted. … Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone is 1-3 all-time vs. Patriots … Jaguars are 8-0 this season when QB Blake Bortles doesn’t have turnover and 4-6 when he does. … Jags have plus-7 turnover margin on road this season (including playoffs), best mark in franchise history. They have 22 takeaways in nine road games this season, most in NFL and most in single season in franchise history. … Including playoffs, Jacksonville’s defense has scored eight touchdowns this season, three more than any other team. It is most defensive TDs scored in season by one team since 2012 Bears. … In addition to being ranked fourth in NFL in opponent’s red zone TD percentage (43.8), Jacksonville also has best red zone scoring percentage in NFL, scoring TDs on 67.9 percent of trips this season (40 TDs on 56 drives). … RB Leonard Fournette rushed for 109 yards and three TDs in last week’s divisional win. He is only rookie in NFL history with 100-plus yards rushing and three or more rushing TDs in postseason game. … LB Telvin Smith tied career high with 16 tackles and returned fumble for TD last week. He has 27 tackles, forced fumble and fumble return in his two career playoff games. … DE Calais Campbell led AFC with franchise-record and career-high 14 1/2 sacks. … DE Yannick Ngakoue was one of two NFL players (Aaron Donald) with 10 or more sacks (12) and five or more forced fumbles (six). … LB Myles Jack had sack, INT and three pass defenses in first two playoff games. … CB A.J. Bouye has two INTs http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/authentic-cody-barton-jersey , forced fumble and seven pass defenses in his past four postseason games. … Patriots playing in seventh straight AFC title game, a record. … New England is 9-4 in AFC championship game overall. Patriots’ 14 appearance rank behind only Pittsburgh (16) and San Francisco (15) for conference title contests. … Coach Bill Belichick is 7-2 all-time vs. Jaguars. … QB Tom Brady is 2-0 in playoffs against Jaguars, throwing for six TDs and no interceptions. …Jacksonville is one of seven NFL teams that Brady has undefeated regular-season record against (5-0). … Jaguars had NFL’s No. 2-ranked scoring defense. Brady has faced top-two scoring defense in playoffs three times (2014 Seahawks, 2004 Eagles, 2004 Steelers). He is 3-0 with passer rating above 100 in each game. … Brady led NFL with 4,577 yards passing and ranked first in AFC with 32 TDs. Both are most by QB at age 40 or older. … RB Dion Lewis has 507 scrimmage yards (126.8 per game) with 5 TDs (three rushing, two receiving) in his past four games, including playoffs. … TE Rob Gronkowski led all NFL tight ends with 1,084 yards receiving, his fourth career 1,000-yard season. That is tied with Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten for most among tight ends in NFL history. … In his past six postseason games, Gronkowski has 512 yards receiving (85.3 per game) and seven TDs. He is looking for his seventh playoff game in row with TD catch. … WR Danny Amendola has 190 yards receiving (95 per game) and TD in past two playoff games. … DE Trey Flowers had sack last week. He has 3 1/2 sacks in past two playoff games. … LB James Harrison has 11 career sacks in postseason, tied for fifth most in NFL history.