Julian Edelman tried to win his appeal on a technicality
Julian Edelman’s positive test for performance-enhancing drugs was reportedly triggered by an unknown substance, and there was a belief that he would try to exploit that fact as the basis of his defense. The star wide receiver instead went a different route with his appeal — one that did not work out.
According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Edelman’s legal team never focused on his four-game suspension being the result of testing positive for an unknown substance. Instead, he tried to get off on a clerical error.
Per a league source, Edelman never argued in his appeal about taking an “unknown substance.” It was all about paperwork
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) July 4, 2018
A previous report claimed that Edelman’s camp believed they had found proof that testers mishandled evidence when collecting and processing his sample. Apparently they were either unable to prove that or it was not enough to have Edelman’s suspension overturned.
As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes, it doesn’t matter if a substance a player tests positive for can’t be identified as long as it has a “similar chemical structure and similar biological effect(s)” to one of the anabolic agents that is banned. That’s probably why Edelman’s team didn’t use that in an attempt to win the appeal.