FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker said he got that football itch a few weeks ago when he flew to Los Angeles to work out with quarterback Tom Brady. As they progressed through sessions, the fire to get back on the field was stoked in a big way.
"It was nice to just get out there, throw the ball around, and kind of get back into a groove a little bit, and kind of get you excited about the year and want to get out there," Welker said. "[The agreement between the players and owners was] definitely one of those deals where you knew it was going to happen, but you really didn't know. And now that it's here, you're really excited about it, and you're happy it's here and you're really looking forward to it."
Welker was among the Patriots who reported Tuesday to Gillette Stadium. At least 16 players — and likely many more than that — showed up to take physicals, work out, fill out some paperwork and get themselves ready for Wednesday's conditioning run.
"You're going to find out whether guys have been putting in the work or not," Welker said. "We'll definitely see during the run test [Wednesday] where everybody is at and where we're going to go from here."
Welker, who should see a statistical spike this season due to a healthier knee, said he's been back in New England for about a week. The conclusion of the lockout means he no longer has to scramble to find a place to work out, as the gates have finally been unlocked at Gillette.
"I'm very excited right now," Welker said. "I'm definitely glad to be back. It's been great."