Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, who suffered a concussion during a preseason game against the Houston Texans on Aug. 23, is progressing under the NFL's concussion protocol.
According to ESPN's Jeff Legwold, Welker was seen running routes before the Broncos' preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 28. Even though Welker can travel with the team, he has not been cleared to play:
"Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, who suffered a concussion in the team's Aug. 23 preseason game against the Houston Texans, will increase his activity level when Denver returns to practice Monday as he continues to progress in the league's concussion protocol.
"Welker ran some routes, in shorts and a T-shirt with no helmet, before Thursday night's preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys, but he had only been cleared to travel to the game at that point and was in uniform when it began.
"Asked Saturday about Welker's status for the coming week, Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway said the wide receiver is progressing and not rushing the recovery process.
"'One step at a time, still in the process, in (the) protocol. So, he'll be out running around Monday and continue through the protocol, take it one day at a time,' Elway said.
"Welker still has several benchmarks to meet within the league's concussion protocol before he can return to full participation in practice or to play in a game, but Monday is expected to be his most activity since he sustained the concussion. Welker also suffered concussions last year in a Nov. 17 game against the Kansas City Chiefs and a Dec. 8 game against the Tennessee Titans.
"He missed the final three games of the regular season in 2013, but returned to play in all three of the Broncos' postseason games, including Super Bowl XLVIII.
"The timetable for a player to return begins when he is symptom-free. If Welker reaches one benchmark within the protocol without any symptoms he advances to the next step. So being allowed to do running/conditioning is the next step. From there, Welker would be allowed to participate in the non-contact portions of a practice, which would come this week if he is symptom-free following Monday's work.
"The final step then would be to return to a full practice. The Broncos open the season Sept. 7 against the Indianapolis Colts.
"To return to play, Welker would have to be cleared for a return to the field by an independent physician, designated by both the NFL and NFL Players Association.
"Earlier this week, Broncos John Fox said Welker was 'doing fantastic in the process.'"
On Aug. 27, The Denver Post's Mike Klis descirbed Welker's recovery as "encouraging":
"The slot receiver's recovery, though, is encouraging. He was seen joining the Broncos' offense in the team's weightlifting ane exercise facililty Tuesday and was able to travel Wednesday.
"The Broncos open their season Sept. 7 against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High -- 15 days after Welker suffered his concussion.
"Welker caught a 9-yard pass across the middle with seconds to play in the first half of the Broncos' preseason game against Houston. Immediatly after catching the ball, Welker took a blow to the helmet by Houston safety D.J. Swearinger, who received a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.
"Welker walked into the locker room under his own power. It was his third concussion in less than 10 months.
"After he suffered his first concussion against Kansas City on Nov. 17, Welker returned the next week. After he suffered another concussion in a game Dec. 8 against Tennessee, Welker sat out the final three games of the season.
"He returned with a more padded, eggshell-type helmet and caught 18 passes in three postseason games. Welker, 33, was wearing the concussion helmet when he was hit Saturday by Swearinger.
"Welker's 841 catches rank 24th on the NFL's all-time receptions list. An additional 80 catches would move him past the likes of No. 22 Rod Smith and No. 15 Torry Holt, among others."