Welker sat out with ‘personal issues’


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FOXBOROUGH — After missing a last week’s preseason game against the Buccaneers, Wes Welker returned to practice today, calling what kept him on the sidelines a “personal issue” but saying he expected to be on the field for the regular season opener Sept. 9 against the Tennessee Titans.

“I feel good,” Welker said. “Just focusing on getting ready for the regular season and you want to get in there and help the team.”

“A lot of it was personal issues, and I’ll leave it at that, and let coach [Bill] Belichick take care of anything else.”

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“I look forward to being out there with the team and I’m looking forward to 2012.”

Just a couple of lockers away from Aaron Hernandez’s stall, Welker said he was happy to hear the 23-year-old tight end had signed a five-year, $40 million extension. Welker was looking for a long-term deal in the offseason after signing a $9.5 million franchise tag this spring.

“It’s good for him,” Welker said. “I’m definitely happy for him. He’s a great player, he’s done a lot of great things for us, and I’m happy to have him here.”

When his situation drew comparisons to David Ortiz, who is playing on a one-year deal with the Red Sox although he too wanted a longer contract, he said the circumstances weren’t the same.

“I don’t know,” Welker said. “I think it’s a little bit different with the sports and everything and how everything comes together. But at the same time, I’m under contract. I played out my last deal, and I’ll play out this one and we’ll see where we’re at.

“I’m just going out here trying to do my job to the best of my ability and let everything else take care of itself.”