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Welker limited on the field at OTAs

06.02.10 at 12:52 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots receiver Wes Welker, still working on coming back from ACL surgery after injuring his knee in Week 17 of the 2009-2010 season against the Texans, was on the field to begin Wednesday’s session of organized team activities at Gillette Stadium. Welker participated in stretching and caught a few passes before leaving the field less than halfway into the session.

“It’s very impressive to me,” fellow receiver Randy Moss of seeing Welker on the field. “I’m a big fan of Welker’s [from] 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 wore a brace on the left knee that kept him out the team’s 33-14 first-round playoff loss to the Ravens. In the limited action he saw, Welker’ signature shiftiness was absent, though it is uncertain whether he was slowed by the knee or cautiously easing back into drills.

Though many members of the team, including running back Laurence Maroney, expressed excitement towards seeing their leader in receptions from last year (123) back on the field, the fifth-year back noted that any anxiousness over the Welker situation shouldn’t distract the team from their preparations for the season.

“I really wasn’t paying attention to Wes,” Maroney said. “I was really more focused on learning my stuff and getting all my little problems and kinks and bugs out of my system. I was really just focused on what assignments I had to do and just getting better for myself but I did glance and see him moving and running.”

Welker has led the NFL in receptions in two of his three years in New England. His 123 were tops last year and his 112 tied him with T.J. Houshmandezdeh, then of the Bengals, in 2007. He finished second to Andre Johnson in 2008 with 111. His participation this early on in OTAs is clearly a god sign for a player who was expected by many to potentially see time on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

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