Wes Welker won't talk contract on Dan Patrick Show

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Wes Welker won't talk contract on Dan Patrick Show

Patriots receiver Wes Welker hopped on the Dan Patrick Show Monday morning. There was, of course, the requisite post-game dish on Dallas.

"They have a great defense," Welker said. "Those guys have a lot of speed, they run around to the ball. It seemed like every time you turned there was somebody right there, so it was tough. They've got a great pass rush and DeMarcus Ware he's a monster. We definitely had our hands full all day with their defense."

Sunday's 20-16 Patriots win was the first game in 14 New England put up fewer than 30 points. How does a team put Tom Brady's offense in a straightjacket? Blanketing Welker with double-coverage is a great way to start. The speedy receiver was limited to 45 yards on six catches, his lowest 2011 output since Week 2 (81 yards, 7 receptions).

Dallas' defense should be commended because Welker's productivity wasn't just slowed, it ground to a screeching halt. He set an NFL record for most receiving yards through the season's first five games with a staggering 740 yards on 45 catches. Heading into Week 6, he had strung together three straight 100-yard receiving games. His fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season is still in the making.

Brady -- future Hall of Famer -- hasn't been able to take the podium without patting this guy on the back.

The feeling is mutual for Welker. When describing the team's final offensive drive, the game-winner rifled off with two-minutes and 31 seconds on the clock, he colored in that classic Brady outline of ultimate competitor.

"He's always pretty intense. With him, he's always going to be after it, always going to be onto us, and always trying to drive us down the field to score touchdowns. So nothing really changes in his demeanor, whether it's the first drive or the last.

"He's always yelling at people. There at the end I think we were all kind of calm and collected, and making sure everybody's doing their job and winning on their plays, and making plays and moving down the field."

Does that make Welker confident enough in the QB to bet a game check on a must-score march?

"My game check? Yeah, sure. I'm like the 40th highest paid receiver in the league," he laughed.

Patrick rightfully perked up. Welker's steal of a contract expires at the end of this season and a big payday is due. Will he re-up with Brady and the Patriots? Will he dip a toe in the free agent waters? Either way, he'll rake in a deal far better than the current five-year, 18.1 million offer he's working under.

But the receiver stiff-armed the contract conversation.

"No, no. I'm just playing," he told Patrick, leaving that initial comment about game check rankings to hang humidly over the airways. "To tell you the truth, I have no idea where I rank. I have no idea. I'm just out there trying to help my team win games.I'll tell you the truth, I don't look at any of that stuff. I don't pay attention to it and you're not going to trap me. So I'm all good."

Another laugh ended the money talk.

Well, almost all of it. There was that Aaron Hernandez game-winning touchdown celebration to review. You know, the way Hernandez loves to... make it rain in the end zone. Welker didn't seem to mind one bit.

"It's kind of funny when you throw fake money in the air, I think," he joked. "He may have just turned 21, I'm not sure. I'm not sure where he learned that from."

Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

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Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had a welcome face back on the practice field on Wednesday, as tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to action after missing the team's previous five practices as he dealt with an injury. 

Gronkowski participated in the warmup period of practice and then remained with the majority of his teammates for drills. 

The last time Gronkowski was spotted on the field was last Monday, which was the first of three joint practices between the Patriots and the Bears. He pulled up after pursuing a Tom Brady pass, walked along the sideline, met with head trainer Jim Whalen, and then left practice early. He did not suit up for Thursday's game against Chicago. 

Gronkowski has not participated in a preseason game since 2012. 

Patriots not spotted at Wednesday's practice were Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, Sebastian Vollmer (on the physically unable to perform list) and Dion Lewis (also on PUP). Alan Branch, who has been suspended by the team before last week's preseason game, was also missing. 

Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich, Malcolm Mitchell, Shea McClellin, Tre' Jackson (PUP) and Danny Amendola (PUP) were present for warmups but went to a lower field for conditioning. Amendola and Jackson were not in pads for the short-and-shells session. 

Jon Bon Jovi was taking in the session alongside Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. 

Update: Stork contemplates retirement in wake of trade to Redskins

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Update: Stork contemplates retirement in wake of trade to Redskins

When word leaked this morning that the Patriots would release center Bryan Stork, the first question that popped to many people's minds was: "Couldn't they have traded him?"

Well, hours after the news broke, they apparently did:

And a few minutes later, Ian Rapoport came through with more information:

But now, as reported by CSN Mid-Atlantic's JP Finlay, the deal might not happen:

Stay tuned.