On Jan. 3, Wes Welker went down in heap of wide receiver with a torn ACL on the Texans' field. A little more than eight months later -- and just six months after surgery -- Welker made his return to an NFL game in Thursday nights 28-10 win over the Falcons, the Patriots' second preseason game.
Just the latest example of Welker's fast recovery, his time on the field in Atlanta was short -- just six snaps -- but meaningful (beyond the two catches for 20 yards).
Six snaps in a preseason game usually means nothing, but this is about as significant half-dozen plays as you'll ever see in an August NFL game. And we know why. With the exception of Marvin Harrison in 2000-02, no player in NFL history has caught as many passes in a three-year span as Welker did in his first three years in New England. Sure, we all get a kick out of Edelman and he might turn out to be terrific, but Welker has been historically good. And you can make a case that he and Moss have been the most prolific duo in league history, at least for a three-year span.
After the game, Welker, who admitted to some pre-game "worries," called the game "a step forward," and detailed the importance of his six plays.
"I think they're really significant. This is something I've been working towards, really trying to get back, and then get back out on the field. To be able to do it here in the second preseason game is kind of a milestone for me, and something I've really been looking forward to, something I worked my tail off to get to this whole offseason. It was pretty significant to get out there and get those reps."