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Welker on active/PUP list

Move by Patriots seen as procedural

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / July 28, 2010

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Wes Welker, who underwent surgery for a torn left ACL less than six months ago, was one of three players placed on the active/physically unable to perform list yesterday by the Patriots, a league source confirmed.

Welker is joined by linebacker Shawn Crable and rookie defensive lineman Kade Weston.

The move with Welker is viewed as procedural. The Globe reported Friday that Welker was ready for all drills, contact included. That remains the case, but the Patriots have chosen to play it safe with Welker, who has impressed with his recovery so far at spring organized team activities and minicamp. Welker was not just stretching and jogging, he was running routes and cutting before retreating to the fieldhouse to continue working with members of the training staff.

Over the last few months, Welker has refused to give a timetable for his return, but he gave an indication of how far along he was in a radio interview two weeks ago when he said he was “trying to get in more of a training mode than a rehab mode.’’

While the move to hold Welker off the field a bit longer isn’t a surprise, Crable’s being on the list is.

The outside linebacker, a third-round draft pick in 2008, has yet to even participate in a regular-season practice, having spent each of his first two seasons on injured reserve. A second league source said Crable is hurt, but there was no indication on when he would be able to get back on the field.

Crable has acknowledged this is a make-or-break year for him, and if indeed another injury has slowed him, he may be out of chances.

Players can come off the active/PUP list at any time during camp; under league rules, once a player practices, he cannot be on the list. So these moves allow New England a bit of roster flexibility, as none of the trio will count against the 80-man training camp roster limit until they are activated and removed from the PUP list.

If any one of the three is not cleared to practice before the end of camp, the Patriots could place him on the regular season reserve/PUP list, which means he would not be available to practice or play until after Week 6.

The Patriots announced a contract agreement with rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes, but there was no news on a deal for first-round draft pick Devin McCourty.

Selected 27th overall, McCourty, a cornerback, is in good company: only one first-round pick has been signed thus far, Dallas’s Dez Bryant.

Because of the creative way teams and agents have to write this year’s rookie deals because of the potential that the usual option bonuses won’t be paid out on time (or at all), it may take a few more late first-round deals to be completed before McCourty’s can be wrapped up.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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