FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced today that WR Wes Welker has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury and that LB Thomas Williams has been signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. In addition, WR Nick Moore and WR Robert Ortiz have been signed to the practice squad and WR Darnell Jenkins has been placed on the practices squad/injured list with an ankle injury.
Welker, 5-9, 185 pounds, finished first in the NFL with 123 receptions in 2009, a Patriots single-season record that eclipses the 112 he had in 2007. Welker broke the 100-reception milestone for the third straight season after catching 112 passes in 2007 and 111 in 2008. He joins Marvin Harrison (4), Jerry Rice (3), Herman Moore (3) and Brandon Marshall (3) as the only NFL players to catch 100 passes in three consecutive seasons. Welker also set a career-high with 1,348 yards receiving. Welker and Randy Moss became the first Patriots players to have three straight 1,000-yard seasons and just the sixth pair in NFL history to have three straight 1,000 yard seasons.
Williams, 6-1, 237 pounds, joined the New England practice squad on Nov. 10, 2009. He was originally a fifth-round draft pick by Jacksonville out of USC in 2008. He appeared in six games for the Jaguars as a rookie. Williams was waived by Jacksonville prior to the start of the 2009 regular season and spent time on the Seattle practice squad this season before being signed to New England.
Moore, 6-2, 186 pounds, was originally signed by the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie free agent out of Toledo on April 27, 2009. He was waived by the Vikings following training camp and signed to the practice squad. Moore was waived by the Minnesota practice squad in late September. He is the brother of New Orleans Saints WR Lance Moore.
Ortiz, 6-1, 195 pounds, was with the Patriots during part of the 2009 preseason. He originally was signed by the San Diego Chargers as a rookie free agent out of San Diego State in 2006. Ortiz was waived by San Diego prior to the start of the 2006 season. He went to training camp with Seattle in 2007 but was waived prior to the start of the regular season. Ortiz signed with New England in the 2008 off-season but was waived prior to the start of training camp before signing with San Francisco, which released him prior to the start of the regular season.
Jenkins, 5-10, 191 pounds, was signed to the New England practice squad on Dec. 9, 2009. He was originally signed by Houston as a rookie agent out of Miami in 2008. Jenkins spent the majority of his rookie season on the Houston practice squad before being signed to the active roster for the final two games of the season. Jenkins was waived by Houston following training camp in 2009 and spent time on the practice squads of both Houston and Cleveland.