ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Wes Welker has every intention of playing against his former team this Sunday.
"I want to be out there," said the wide receiver, who was a limited participant in Thursday's practice. "I mean, there's not too many games I've missed in my whole career and I love playing the game, especially in big atmospheres like this. So I'm doing everything possible in my power to make sure that I get the opportunity to play in a game like this."
Last Sunday, Welker left the win against the Chiefs after taking a big hit on a first-down reception. He briefly returned before leaving the game for good.
"Obviously it was a tough hit," Welker said.
The wide receiver has been listed on the injury report this week with a concussion and a neck injury, and Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said he was undergoing the concussion protocol before he would be cleared to return to practice.
After not participating on Wednesday, Welker was cleared for his return Thursday.
"I feel fine," Welker said in the locker room after practice. "I'm just preparing myself, getting ready and hopefully just get cleared for Sunday."
That's up to the team's medical staff. But Del Rio said the receiver's return to practice was positive.
"It was great to get him back out there and get some things done," Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase agreed.
It's clear Welker is excited for Sunday's matchup with the New England Patriots -- he said as much.
He said he's "hoping" to play, but he'll defer to the doctors for the final decision. If he does suit up, he acknowledged that he might be a little strange to play in Gillette Stadium as a visitor after six seasons with the Patriots.
"I'm sure it will be, a little bit," Welker said. "But, you know, it's another game, another field – it's still the same size and everything else. (I'm) familiar with it, so that's an advantage for sure."
"It's a big game, a big matchup. Great environment, everything else," he said. "I really look forward to it."