Patriots

Patriots

BOSTON -- Wes Welker and Julian Edelman will always share a connection. They were teammates from 2009 through 2012. Last summer, Edelman credited Welker with essentially creating a position that Edelman has manned.

When Edelman tore his ACL in Detroit during a preseason game last summer, the pair shared another connection. Welker tore up his ACL and MCL at the very end of the 2009 season, robbing Tom Brady of one of his favorite targets for the playoffs. 

Because the timing of the two injuries was so different -- over a year will separate Edelman's injury and Week 1 of this season, while Welker had eight months -- they haven't had an apples-to-apples recovery schedule. 

But at the Leonard Hair Transplant Associates media day at the Battery Wharf Hotel on Tuesday, Welker gave some insight into what he experienced after his serious knee injury as a receiver who, like Edelman, relies on his ability to cut and cut hard. 

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"It was tough," Welker said. "I didn't have as much time, and I look back and I wish I had taken more. But I just wanted to get back on the field so badly. You know, it took me the whole year and really getting to that next offseason where I could really train and get ready for the next season."

Welker explained that it took him a long time, multiple seasons, before he could trust his knee to make the same cut he made when he suffered the injury.

 

"I think even years after, you're still playing on that thing and anytime you make that same cut, you almost don't want to make it," he said. "Those hard cuts like that -- real hard, when you're trying to make a guy miss -- those are kind of rare. But you can feel when you're about to make one, and in your mind, in that split-second, [you] remember what happened last time. It's a tough, brutal injury."

Welker was 28 years old when he tore his ACL and MCL. Edelman turned 32 in May and is scheduled to be suspended the four games of the 2018 season after having been found to have violated the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Edelman appealed the decision late last month, but his appeal was denied by a third-party arbitrator. 

During spring practices Edelman insisted he was improving with each passing day, and he appeared to have little issue when it came to running and cutting during drills. Edelman was limited during team periods at Patriots practices.

Welker went on to make three more Pro Bowls following his injury, and he played six more seasons. In 2010, Welker caught 86 passes for 848 yards. Both were low marks during his six years in New England, but still good enough for a Pro Bowl nod. In 2011, Welker was a First-Team All-Pro after catching 122 passes for a career-high 1,569 yards.

Given what Welker knows about Edelman and Edelman's work ethic, he believes Edelman will bounce back.

"I think he'll be fine," Welker said. "He works really hard. He does all the right things. [He's] just trying to work to get back there on the field. He's had almost a whole year by the time the season starts and should be good to go."

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