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Players open up their wallets in an attempt to stay ready during NFL lockout

05.21.11 at 4:38 pm ET

PEABODY ‘€” It’€™s been an interesting offseason for NFL players: Locked out of their facilities, more and more groups are starting to come together and hold teamwide workouts. The Patriots are one of those teams ‘€” just over two dozen players have been getting together locally over the last few weeks.

New England wide receiver Wes Welker isn’€™t training locally ‘€” instead, he’€™s one of several NFL players who have been training at Bonmaritos Performance in Florida. He’s just one of tons of players across the league who are forced to work out on their own dime.

‘€œFor me, I still have a house down there from when I played [with the Dolphins]. So having my house there, having a trainer that I knew, having that other guys that train the same place I do,’€ said Welker, speaking Saturday at his football camp. ‘€œTraffic is not as bad as a lot of places, especially L.A. ‘€” I can find parking, which is nice.

‘€œThen it’€™s a one-stop shop there ‘€“ I can get massages there, I can train there, they have a swimming pool, a field like this outside. They have everything. It’€™s been nice to go to my own home and stay there, and kind of enjoy it.’€

That being said, it’€™s a different experience for many veterans. Used to being able to work out at their respective facilities, they are now forced to pay for their own gym time.

‘€œIt’€™s definitely a tough time,’€ Welker said. ‘€œGuys are going into their own wallets to be able to train. That’€™s how much we care about football and we want to make sure we’€™re putting a good product out on the field and not having any sort of slacking or anything like that.’€

While veterans are just trying to replicate the work they would be into at this time of year ‘€” namely, organized team activities ‘€” it’€™s a whole different situation for rookies, who are going to be behind schedule when the lockout ends.

‘€œI think that’€™s huge, especially for guys coming in,’€ Welker said. ‘€œ[They’€™re] going to be so far behind. It’€™s going to be tough for a lot of those to come in and really [make an] impact. They’€™re kind of behind the eight-ball right now. Hopefully we can get something figured out so these guys can really get up to speed on everything and really be able to play and learn a lot of things, not only from the coaches, but from the older players and things like that. It’€™s definitely a tough time. Hopefully those guys are working out and understand that they probably need to pay for some workouts, spend a little money.’€

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