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Patriots.com News Blitz - 1/7/2010

WR Wes Welkermade his first public comments since suffering a left knee injury during last Sunday's loss at the Texans. "Although, I know that it will take time to be the same player that I once was," said Welker according to the Boston Globe. "I am ready to face that challenge, and in time, I plan on coming back the player I was and much more." He added that he's faced adversity in his career before, and is committed to returning to the Patriots. Welker has officially been placed on injured reserve.

ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell believes Welker "could be practicing by September and looking Welkerish by October."

Are the Patriots the favorite entering Sunday's game? One source says not so fast.

Expected to make his first start in the playoffs, WR Julian Edelmanreceived praise from his former college coach at Kent State. "The thing about him is, the bigger the spotlight and the bigger the game, the better he'll play," coach Doug Martin said. "He really embraces those types of opportunities. He's not Wes Welker. He's Julian Edelman, and he'll be just fine."

The Patriots shuffled their roster Wednesday in an effort to build depth for Wild card weekend. First, LB Thomas Williamswas signed to the active roster. Also, practice squad WR Darnell Jenkinswas placed on the practice squad-injured list. In the final move of the day, the team signed WRs Robert Ortizand Nick Moore.

Multiple sources say QB Tom Brady won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award yesterday, and responded with a simple "thank you." Brady suggests he was unaware he won the award until a reporter brought it up. Brady suffered a torn ACL and MCL during Week one of last season and did not play again in 2008. "I just love playing and I love being out there with my teammates, and practicing today," Brady said. "That's the greatest reward for any of this - for any of us - is to be a part of a team that's successful because we all have a lot of good fortune to be playing."

The *AP *listed the full results of the Comeback Player of the Year award:

Tom Brady, QB, New England 19Carnell Williams, RB,
Tampa Bay 14
Vince Young, QB,
Tennessee 7
Cedric Benson, RB,
Cincinnati 4
Brett Favre, QB,
Minnesota 4
Anthony Hargrove, DE,
New Orleans 1

Ravens star LB Ray Lewis made it clear the Oct. 4 meeting between the Patriots and Ravens does not matter according to the Boston Herald. "If you're stuck back that far ago, you've lost your focus on the game. That week, whatever your frustrations (were), they (were). Nothing that you went through then or nothing that they did, that the refs did, will ever slow me down the way I play football," says Lewis. In the first meeting, the Ravens questioned calls regarding "preferential treatment" for QB Tom Brady. Lewis stated after the game that, "it's embarrassing to the game...Brady's good enough to make a play. Let him make the play."

The *Boston Herald *believes it's time for WR Randy Mossto step up, especially in the absence of WR Wes Welker. Although double coverage is expected, it "shouldn't stop Moss when the teams meet on Sunday." The story adds that the Ravens do not have an elite set of cornerbacks in Dominque Foxworth and Chris Carr, meaning Moss should see plenty of opportunities.

On the injury front, ESPN Boston has two names to focus on. G Dan Connolly did not participate in practice yesterday due to an ankle problem. NT Vince Wilforkhad full participation in practice, and is expected to start on Sunday despite a nagging ankle injury.

Wilfork on Sunday's game: "It's going to be a tough one, a real physical game. Trust me," said Wilfork. "They're playing with high energy, we can see that in their game. They've got a big offensive line that's been mauling people. We know we're going to get their best."

CB Leigh Boddenknows it's just another football game but is thrilled to hear "playoffs." Bodden has endured seven seasons without reaching the postseason, capped off by a winless 2008 campaign with the Detroit Lions. "This team has been working hard, harder than any team I've ever been on," said Bodden in the Providence Journal. "When I came here, expectations were high; guys wanted to win. We look forward to this position we're in and we have to take advantage."

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