New England Patriots Receiver Wes Welker Taken Off PUP List

August 1, 2010- By Jonathan Lowell

A familiar face graced the New England Patriots’ practice field Sunday morning, only this time Wes Welker was sporting a knee brace. The New England Patriots are looking for revenge in the 2010 season after losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Baltimore Ravens. 2010 NFL betting trends have the Patriots favored to return to the playoffs.

Fans on hand applauded Welker’s arrival, and he immediately participated in agility and individual drills at full speed. When the team broke for 11 on 11 drills, Welker stayed on the opposite side of the field working with strength and conditioning coaches.

No contact drills were a part of Welker’s training Sunday. Instead, he caught passes from quarterback Tom Brady, and practiced a varitey of routes. He worked on jamming off the line of scrimmage before running through cones in a speed drill.

“We’re not there yet, but every day we’re getting a little closer,” Welker said after the practice. “Slowly but surely, we’re making progress.”

The Patriots are scheduled to meet the impressive wide receiver tandem of Chad Ochocino and Terrell Owens in Week 1 of the upcoming season. Owens went to the Cincinnati Bengals in hopes of winning his first Super Bowl. 2010 NFL betting odds have set the Patriots as 5 1/2 point favorites against the Bengals.

When asked if he would be ready for the season opener, Welker remained positive that he would be on the field. He said the decision would ultimately be left up to doctors.

“Obviously, I’d like to be, but that’s up to the coaches and doctors,” he said. “We’ll put it in their hands and see what they have to say about it.”

Welker can no longer be placed on the PUP list after being taken off Sunday. The receiver says he is not concerned with his knee holding up during camp.

“It’s feeling good so far. We’re trying to get that muscle memory back of making those quick moves and get that stuff back.”

Nick Caserio, the Patriots director of player personnel, praised his wide receiver for continuing to show dedication to his craft on the field.

“He works hard, he’s committed to football. … Wes is a unique guy, there is no question about it,” Caserio said. “It’s a tribute to him and his work ethic and competitiveness and toughness to get back on the field.”

The fourth day of Patriots mandatory camp will contain two practices in the morning and afternoon. Welker has missed several padded practices this offseason, but has worked out independently to get in shape.

Pre-season Super Bowl XLV lines have set the Patriots among the underdogs to win the game at +1200 odds.

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