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Not many aches for Welker

But he is pained by NFL lockout

By Greg A. Bedard
Globe Staff / May 22, 2011

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PEABODY — Wes Welker’s football clinic yesterday at Bishop Fenwick High School had an unusual feel for its host.

For one, the Patriots receiver was around footballs and a field for the first time in a while. Such is the life of locked-out National Football Leaguers.

And Welker was healthy for this installment of his camp, which hosts 500 youngsters ages 7-14.

“I feel so much better. It’s been great, really,’’ said Welker, who was coming back from both ACL and shoulder surgery this time last year. “Being able to train, I have confidence in everything and I feel good out there, and the running, there’s [no aches], there’s none of that.

“It’s just going out there and being able to do everything that I’ve been able to in the past and not have the aches and pains in the morning or anytime through it all. So it’s been nice to see.’’

Welker has been able to have complete offseason workouts.

“I’ve actually been able to bench press for the first time and been able to squat because of my shoulder,’’ he said. “I can reach back there to grab the bars.

“Some of those things are kind of key when it comes to football so I’m definitely excited about that and it’s encouraging to see and hopefully I’ll be able to use some of the skills that I’m working on now during the season.’’

After being locked out by owners in March, Welker has been one of many NFL players working on their own — and on their own dime. He has been at Bommarito Performance Systems in South Florida, where he still owns a home, with about 30-40 other players.

Welker said there are no definite plans at this time to work out with Tom Brady, but it likely will happen at some point.

“We talk quite a bit and keep in touch and kind of see how each other is doing,’’ Welker said. “We’re always trying to coordinate a schedule. He’s really busy, I’m really busy, and it’s kind of tough not being able to just go up to the Patriots facility and really get together and do something.’’

Welker feels that kind of work could be useful, especially if the lockout drags on well into July.

“I think that’s the toughest part, just coordinating everybody’s schedules, and once we get there, I think we’ll be fine,’’ Welker said. “It is different not being able to have meetings and then go out there and execute everything that we talk about, but hopefully we can put something together and work on something and, especially for these younger guys, give them an opportunity to get some good work and see where everybody’s at.

“I’m definitely frustrated. I want to be out there playing. It gets old just training all the time.

“I came into this league just wanting to play ball and never thought something like this would be an issue and I’m sure a lot of guys feel that way. Being players and growing up and not having much, the fact that we’re squabbling about money is kind of ridiculous to me.’’

Welker believes the lockout will have the most negative impact on rookies.

“They’re just going to be so far behind, and it’s going to be tough for a lot of those guys just to come in and really have an impact,’’ he said.

Greg A. Bedard can be reached at gbedard@globe.com.

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