It's the first time Welker has taken part in an on-field practice session since tearing the ACL in his left knee in January, according to a source.
Welker, who was wearing a brace on his left knee, participated in the early portion of practice and was on the field for about 25-30 minutes before leaving for non-injury reasons, presumably to continue working out with team trainers. Welker took part in wide receiver drills before breaking off into 7-on-7 drills. He looked good, making hard cuts and running close to full speed at times.
Welker has been working out at Gillette Stadium for a few weeks, and he has been running around the practice fields at times during the Patriots' first five organized team activities, according to a source. But participating in these team practices is a significant step in his recovery process.
"It's very impressive to me," Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss said of Welker. "I'm a big fan of Welker's, way before he came here, back when he was in Miami, so I can't wait to have him back on the field, whenever that day comes. The sky's the limit, so we'll see what happens."
Welker was part of a massive turnout at Wednesday's session in which 82 of the Patriots' 86 players participated, wearing helmets, practice jerseys and shorts. Rookie wide receiver Taylor Price (who can't practice until Ohio's senior class graduates), defensive lineman Kade Weston (unknown reason), left guard Logan Mankins (contract dispute) and defensive end Ty Warren (believed to be taking classes to earn his degree at Texas A&M) were the four players missing.
Second-year safety Pat Chung was wearing a red non-contact jersey, but he was not limited in the drills. Chung appeared to have a cast on his left wrist.
This was the second OTA which the media was permitted to attend, and the intensity was much higher with the veterans on hand. Quarterback Tom Brady really took charge during passing drills with wide receivers and running backs, and defensive lineman Vince Wilfork was in full sprint between drills.
"I'm very excited about getting back in the swing of things," Wilfork said. "We have to start from the bottom, work our way up, and it's going to take day in and day out, a lot of work. We're not even near to where we need to be, so we understand that."
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