New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Kraft implies Welker won’t play tonight

ESPN.com’s dynamic duo of Mike Reiss and Mike Rodak are reporting that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has hinted that wide receiver Wes Welker will not play tonight in the teams preseason opener versus the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

Following the induction of Sam Cunningham into the team’s Hall of Fame today, Kraft told reporters not to be disappointed if there is no sign of receiver Wes Welker on the field tonight.

“He will come back when the time is right,” Kraft said.

Welker was a full participant in joint practices with the Saints on Tuesday and Wednesday, but he has yet to be part of live tackling in training camp. Kraft’s comments all but assure that Welker will not be on the field tonight. Also not expected to suit up tonight are injured Patriots, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, defensive end Ty Warren and cornerback Leigh Bodden.

Welker’s recovery from surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL has been miraculous, but head coach Bill Belichick doesn’t want to push Welker too far, too fast. Welker has been aiming for a Week 1 return all along, so sitting out tonight isn’t a setback in reaching achieving goal. Even if Welker were to suit up, he would only be out there for a series or two against New Orleans tonight.


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