Welker: 'Probably not going' to minicamp

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Welker: 'Probably not going' to minicamp

After Wes Welker was slapped with the franchise tag in early March, it was clear that he planned to negotiate a long-term deal with the Patriots.

"Glad that I will be a Patriot in 2012 and hopefully 13,14,15,16,17,18," Welker tweeted at the time.

Nothing long-term came down right away, but Welker continued to say all the right things in interviews, hoping something could be worked out.

"I mean, it's a lot of money," he said earlier this month of the 9.5 million he would be paid under the franchise tag.

"How can you ever be upset about that? It's not a bad deal, so I'm not too worried about it."

But here we are, almost two months after he was tagged, and nothing has changed. Welker hasn't signed his tender, and no progress has been made toward a long-term deal.

Now the All-Pro wideout appears to be in a holding pattern. With no new deal, he told ESPN Boston Radio that he probably will not attend the team's mandatory minicamp in June.

"I'm thinking I'm probably not going to, but things could change," he said.

If Welker's still not under contract by the time minicamp rolls around, it obviously isn't "mandatory" for him; he won't officially be on the roster.

But his absence would make a statement.

"It's really not a route I thought I'd ever take because it's not me," he told ESPN. "I feel like it's just kind of been the spot I've been put in."

Welker joined SportsCenter on Tuesday and said that "negotiations have kind of stopped at the franchise tender, and we havent really spoken since then."

He understands why. With the draft coming up, Welker knows that Bill Belichick is focused on other things.

"Im sure with the draft and everything else, theres a lot of other things that kind of take place," Welker said. "And you know how coach Belichick works . . . right now hes in draft mode. And Im sure after the draft, you know, hopefully were able to come together and hopefully figure something out."

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

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Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

Wednesday's practice participation report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo spoke Wednesday for the first time since getting his shoulder separated by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso. Standing by his locker, Garoppolo was predictably vague about the status of his arm, unless you consider, “Getting better day by day,” as being insightful. 

The only two responses offered that were worth a damn came when asked if he could have done anything different when he got squished by Alonso while retreating and buying time.  

“Just have to be smart I guess,” said Garoppolo. “I mean, it’s football and stuff’s gonna happen like that, but have to be smart in those situations.”

Asked if he regretted holding the ball as long as he did on a third-down play with the Patriots up 21-0, Garoppolo replied, “After it’s all said and done it’s easy to say that, but it’s one of those things, you’re in the heat of the game. But bottom line I have to be smarter than that.”

Agreed.  

Meanwhile, as he worked last week to get back for Thursday night’s game against Houston, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots were “putting pressure” on Garoppolo to be ready for the game. Working hard to get key players ready for upcoming games is standard operating procedure for a medical staff. Trying to force a player to perform is not. 

I asked Garoppolo if he felt unduly pressured. He replied, “No.”