Welker excited to begin OTAs today


Welker excited to begin OTAs today

PEABODY -- He may not yet have the long-term deal he's been looking for, but it's clear Wes Welker is ready to move on from discussing publicly his contract negotiations.

When given the opportunity to talk football over the weekend at his Old Spice youth clinic, he beamed. It was a welcome respite from discussing dollars and cents and job-security. He smiled as he spoke about his teammates and about how excited he was to be on the field for the start of organized team activities, which began today.

Welker was especially eager to see some of his former Patriots teammates -- Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth -- back in New England.

"It's really cool," Welker said of their reunion. "I have a great relationship with all those guys. We've added some other guys into the mix as well. I'm excited to work with everybody and get everybody on the same page. We all work together out there. Everybody getting open, everybody being an option all the time. It really just helps out the team to become that much better and have that competitive atmosphere out there."

For Patriots receivers, the competition will start early. There are 12 receivers currently on the team's roster, including Welker, Gaffney, Stallworth, Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch, Chad Ochocinco, Anthony Gonzalez and Julian Edelman. Though none have to worry about being cut during OTAs, they all know there will be only so many spots for pass-catchers on the active roster come Week 1 of the regular season.

"We got some great receivers coming in," Welker said. "It's going to be a lot of fun. A competitive atmosphere. A lot of guys that have been here and can really help us win ball games. I'm really looking forward to working with everybody."

That includes Welker's good friend Tom Brady. The two haven't yet worked out together during the offseason so they'll have a chance to rediscover their timing in OTAs.

"That's why these OTAs are important as well," Welker said. "Get on the same page with Brady and get that work in."

For Welker, the arrival of OTAs also means that he can finally get back to what he loves to do. It's part of the reason he signed his franchise tender early, thereby relinquishing any leverage he had in long-term contract negotiations; he couldn't picture himself not participating.

"I'm looking forward to moving forward and getting ready for the 2012 season," he said.

With that he left the middle of the media scrum, questions about his contract negotiations behind him -- at least temporarily. He and the team have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal.

Brady enjoys 'unique experience' of road trip


Brady enjoys 'unique experience' of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on its own feel, its own flavor and - eventually - its own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”

Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out


Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

The Patriots will be without center David Andrews on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Mexico City. Andrews, who hasn’t all practice all week with an illness, is one of four Pats listed as out on the injury report released Friday.


Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who didn’t play last week against the Broncos is also out, along with wide receiver Chris Hogan and special teams captain Matthew Slater. Offensive linemen Ted Karras and Joe Thuney each took reps at center so one of them will likely start in Andrews’ absence. LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon and performed well last week vs. Denver. 

Here’s the full injury report for the Patriots and Raiders: