ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --** Wide receiver Wes Welker ran routes and caught passes wearing a helmet during Monday's practice for the first time since suffering a concussion.
"Obviously, as I said all last week, he's a guy that we'll be cautious with, and our main concern is his safety," Head Coach John Fox said after the 100-minute morning practice.
Welker's return to the practice field came nine days after he incurred the concussion on a shoulder-to-helmet hit from Houston safety D.J. Swearinger late in the second quarter of the Broncos' 18-17 preseason loss to the Texans Aug. 23.
In the days since the hit, Welker has gone through the NFL-mandated post-concussion protocol, which includes multiple neurologic examinations. He cannot be cleared for full practice until he is examined and cleared by both a team physician and an independent neurologist.
"He's still in the protocol. He's still exercising," Fox said. "We feel good about his progress."
He did not practice last week, but did take part in pre-game conditioning with Broncos starters prior to last Thursday's preseason win over Dallas. He also ran routes and caught passes from quarterback Peyton Manning prior to that game, in which the starters did not play.
Welker has suffered three concussions in the last 10 months. He did not miss any games after the first one, but sat out the Broncos' last three and a half games of the 2013 regular season following the second.