Welker: I want to play Sunday


Welker: I want to play Sunday

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- By now, you know the only thing the Patriots can take out of Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium is retained health and a momentum boost heading into the playoffs.

How much momentum you can gain prior to a first-round bye remains to be seen. But staying healthy is nothing to be trifled with. After all, it was in the last regular-season game of 2009 that Wes Welker blew out his knee, forcing him to miss the playoffs . . . as short as they were for the one-and-done Pats.

But the memory of crumbling to the Reliant Stadium turf last week isn't haunting Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker. He wants to play Sunday, since he thinks it's better than having two consecutive weeks off.

"Not playing for a week, and taking that week off, it's good for you physically, but at the same time, you want to keep it going," said Welker prior to Thursday's practice. "So definitely, this week is key for us to keep that momentum, stay on top of everything, and be ready to play."

Welker said he hasn't been told how much playing time he'll receive on Sunday against the Dolphins. But he sounds like someone who wants to help finish off the season in dominating fashion.

"I'm here to play football," said Welker. "That's what I get paid to do, and I love playing. So, no matter what's at stake, or what the deal is, I want to play.

"I know people are probably thinking different about that, but I don't worry about other stuff. Whatever Coach Bill Belichick decides for me, that's what I'm going to do. I'm always ready to play."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.