FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Patriots receiver Wes Welker was removed from the physically unable to perform list and placed on the active roster Sunday, seven months after tearing ligaments in his knee.
Welker practiced with the club Sunday morning.
Welker was injured early in the final regular-season game against the Houston Texans on Jan. 3. He underwent surgery for a torn ACL and MCL a month later.
Welker participated in organized team activities in June. On Sunday, he ran pass patterns and participated in non-contact drills. He was loudly applauded by fans every time he touched the ball.
"It's a tribute to Wes and his work ethic," said Nick Casario, director of player personnel.
Casario said Welker passed his physical before taking the field.
"I'm not fully there," Welker said. "We're getting closer. I can't point out one thing. I think I can get better at a lot of things, whether I was 100 percent or not. We're working toward that."
He said his knee and the shoulder he injured during the season, forcing him to miss two games, both feel great.
Welker said he didn't know when he would be cleared for contact, leaving it up to coaches and doctors.
He said he wasn't really thinking about the knee during drills, although he would continue to wear the brace he sported Sunday at least for a while.
"Obviously if I was favoring it (the knee) or something, I wouldn't be out here," he said.
Welker said there was no chance to relax in the offseason as he rehabbed.
"There was no vacation time," he said. "A nice weekend here, a nice weekend there, or anything like that. It was six hours of work each day, making sure I was bringing it every day, and that was the toughest part."
Welker, a seven-year veteran from Texas Tech, caught a team record 123 passes for 1,348 yards last season despite missing almost three full games. It was the third straight year he caught more than 100 passes after the Patriots obtained him in a 2007 trade with the Miami Dolphins.
NOTES: Casario deflected questions on any possible negotiations with All-Pro guard Logan Mankins, who is holding out after refusing to sign a contract in the offseason. "I'm not going to get into that," said Casario. "We're focusing on the players that are here." ... Casario also said he expects a resolution soon on linebacker Derrick Burgess, who has not reported to camp and is reportedly contemplating retirement. Burgess, who had five sacks last year, signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract in the offseason. Because of Burgess' failure to report and the retirement of David Patten, the Patriots have two open roster sports for the time being.