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NFL Notebook

Welker not at workout

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / April 17, 2012
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The Patriots started their voluntary offseason training program Monday, and at least one player was not present, according to a league source: receiver Wes Welker.

It is neither a surprise nor a major issue that Welker, who was franchised by the Patriots, was not present for the start of the offseason program. Welker has not signed his tender, and there has been little progress on a long-term deal. He’s not required to take part - both because it is voluntary and he isn’t under contract. And it’s a way to quietly protest his status.

Players who have tendered but have not signed it have the option of signing a waiver to participate in the workouts.

During an interview with NFL Network last week, Welker said he was “in no rush’’ to sign the tender and take part in the offseason program. Exclusive rights free agent Kyle Love signed his tender and reported to Gillette Stadium, a league source said.

Elsewhere, the Giants signed defensive back Antwaun Molden, who had a career-high 28 tackles with two interceptions last season with the Patriots.

Bounty discussed

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former New Orleans linebacker Scott Fujita, and players union head DeMaurice Smith were at the NFL offices Monday discussing the team’s bounty program.

Other issues also were being discussed with league executives, according to a person with knowledge of the meetings. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are not being made public.

The league would not comment on the meetings, which also included discussions of HGH testing.

Also on hand was NFL Players Association president Domonique Foxworth, who was elected to that position last month.

Brees and Fujita, now with the Browns, are members of the NFLPA’s executive committee. Fujita was with the Saints in 2009 when the pay-for-pain bounty pool grew as large as $50,000 and the team won the Super Bowl.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to soon punish players for their roles in the program that got Saints coach Sean Payton suspended for 2012.

Four sue league

Four former players - Myron Guyton, Lomas Brown, Jessie Small, and Willie Whitehead - filed the latest lawsuit claiming the NFL didn’t properly protect its players from concussions, citing the bounties paid to Saints players for hard hits as just the most recent evidence of the league’s violent culture. The lawsuit, filed Monday in state court in Atlanta, said the Saints’ pay-for-pain system was another example the league “explicitly relied on violence’’ and neglected to educate players on the dangers of concussions . . . Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin signed his one-year restricted free agent tender worth $1.26 million . . . The Redskins re-signed linebacker London Fletcher, who has led the team in tackles each of the past five years, to a two-year deal . . . Receiver Brandon Stokley signed a one-year deal with Denver to play with old friend Peyton Manning . . . A Minnesota House committee voted down the Vikings’ stadium proposal, a major setback for the team’s decade-long bid for a taxpayer subsidy to build a replacement for the Metrodome.

Material from The Associated Press was used. Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com.

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