A torn ACL robbed New England Patriots fans of seeing wide receiver Julian Edelman burst out of the Gillette Stadium tunnel, sprint 100 yards down the field and send a flying fist pump into the south end zone.

Edelman returned to the Gillette Stadium game field Thursday night in the Patriots’ 2018 preseason opener, a game New England won 26-17 over the Washington Redskins, and he was glowing after the game despite receiving zero targets.

“It was awesome, honestly,” Edelman said. “It’s another step in the process of trying to get healthy and playing real football. Going out and hitting guys and feeling bodies, it was just fun to be out there and experience the stadium, the crowd. I’m not saying you take those for granted, but it’s been a while since I’ve got to see them.”

He wouldn’t have minded Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer throwing him a bone during the game, though.