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Stallworth cleared to return to football after hot air balloon accident

Donte' Stallworth, Wes Welker

New England Patriots wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth (19) jokes with teammate Wes Welker as they head to the practice field during NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass., Friday, Aug. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)


During the offseason, receiver Donte’ Stallworth suffered serious injuries in a very unconventional way: Via hot air balloon.

Two months and one day later, Stallworth has been cleared to return to football, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

“I’ve played professional football for 10 years and I’ve never been carted off the football field,” Stallworth explained after the incident. “Now, after a couple hours in a hot air balloon, I’m getting airlifted off a farm.”

Stallworth suffered severe burns, and intense pain. As he described it to former Patriots teammate Wes Welker, “Imagine the hardest hit you’ve ever taken and multiply that by 1,000.” Soleil Guerrero, who was also seriously injured during the incident, told Stallworth that he had been on fire.

Stallworth, a first-round pick of the Saints in 2002, has played for New Orleans, Philadelphia, New England, Cleveland, Baltimore, Washington, and once again New England. In his only 2012 appearance, with the Patriots, Stallworth caught a 63-yard touchdown pass.