We can now confirm that, per an NFL source. From what I understand, Welker is fully expected to pass his physical next week and is prepared to participate in all drills.
That’s not to say the Patriots won’t pace him, or play it safe in the early parts of camp. It is to say that he’s full go now, and is ready to play.
By putting Welker out there on Thursday, the Patriots would leave him off the Active/PUP list, which is the only way they can put him on the Reserve/PUP and save his roster spot for the first six weeks of the season. So from a roster-management standpoint, his appearance on the practice field will speak volumes.
I’ve mentioned before that his recovery timetable isn’t unlike that of Philip Rivers two years ago. Rivers’ comeback to throw for 4,000 yards was pretty remarkable. And so is this one, even if it’s hardly unprecedented.