Thursday, April 17, 2014
Wes Welker, who suffered a concussion in last week's win over Kansas City, returned to practice Wednesday for the Denver Broncos, taking a step toward playing in Sunday's game against his old teammates, the New England Patriots.
Welker, who starred for six seasons with the Patriots, signed with the Broncos in the off-season and is Denver's leading receiver.
But his status for Sunday's game at Gillette Stadium was put in doubt when he was injured against the Chiefs.
After practice he told the Denver media that he was feeling good and hoping to play.
"That's what I'm hoping for,'' he said. "Just listen to what the doctors say and go from there.''
While he was cleared to practice that doesn't mean he's received clearance to play. He must pass the concussion protocol to play against the Patriots.
Welker missed only three regular-season games in his six years with the Patriots. This is one that he doesn't want to miss for the Broncos.
"I love playing the game, especially in big atmospheres like this,'' he said. "So I'm doing everything possible in my power to make sure that I get the opportunity to play in a game like this.''
Welker, of course, was one of Tom Brady's closest friends on the Patriots. He said he has kept in touch with Brady throughout the season, but not these last few days.
"Not this week, this week we're pretty much enemies,'' he said, laughing. "But. no, we're really tight and close. I wish the best for him. Just not this week.''
Mike Lowe has covered the New England Patriots since 1999 for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and has had a nice view of their emergence as one of the NFL’s premier franchises.
He’s been at the paper since 1982 and has covered everything from a Little League World Series to the Summer Olympics. He is married to Tracie and they have three children and two grandchildren.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeLowePPH.