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Wes Welker joins the group of players back at Gillette Stadium

Posted by Monique Walker, Globe Staff  July 26, 2011 12:53 PM

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FOXBOROUGH -- The overwhelming coverage of the NFL lockout didn't keep Patriots receiver Wes Welker's attention in the final weeks of the drama.

Welker didn't need to hear the constant reports of progress. So while reports trickled in about the status of the negotiations, Welker was on a plane to Los Angeles a few weeks ago to workout with quarterback Tom Brady, he said.

"... It was nice to just get out there and throw the ball around and kind of get back in the groove a little bit. ... It's definitely one of those deals where you knew it was going to happen, but you didn't really know," Welker said. "Now that's it's here, you're happy it's here."

Welker was among the batch of players who arrived at Gillette Stadium today to undergo physicals and fill out any necessary paperwork in preparation for the first day of training camp tomorrow.

Welker said he has been in Massachusetts for the last week searching for various places to workout until the lockout was resolved. If players haven't been keeping up with their fitness, tomorrow will be the day they will find out.

"Time will tell but I think the main thing, you're going to find out whether guys have been putting in the work or not," Welker said.

Welker addressed a few other issues with the media earlier today:

Welker's thoughts on the changes 2-a-days: "I don't think it's a terrible thing.I don't think it's always the best. It depends on where you are at in your career. I feel like I know how to push myself and if I need extra running, I can do that on my own and get the extra stuff that I need to make sure I'm ready to go out there and play on the field. "

What is the most difficult thing to get back after lockout?: "I think everybody getting on the same page and where they line up. I think hearing the play calls will be one of the main things, knowing how to run routes, techniques and having your body learn all that stuff all over again and hearing it all over again. I think that's one of the main things not being able to hear all the calls and understand them all."

On Robert Kraft's influence: "It's always great to have Mr. Kraft in your corner. You know he's the instrumental part of what got this deal done. I don't think there's any question about that.

"I think all of the owners really looked to Mr. Kraft to make all of those things happen. It's great to have an owner like that, who has as much passion for the game as you do. And even in the times of what he's gone through with Mrs. Kraft, .... with his family ... to get a deal done and put everything aside even with all of the circumstances.Obviously, he's a heck of a guy and a heck of a man. We're very lucky to have him here."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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