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Welker plans for 2012 return

INDIANAPOLIS -- Life without receiver Wes Welker? It's a thought some have considered with Welker's contract expiring this year and the sides unable to strike an extension.

The topic came up during Welker's media availability session Sunday at Super Bowl XLVI.

"I plan on being back," Welker told reporters. "I am not really too worried about that right now. I am fully concentrated on this game and what we have to do, but I plan on being back."

Welker, who leads the NFL in receptions over the last five years (554), would likely receive the franchise tag if the sides can't hammer out an extension by the start of the 2012 league year in March. The tag would restrict his ability his test the open market and essentially ensure his return for at least one more season.

At a time when he's preparing for the Super Bowl, Welker stiff-armed any more talk about his future.

"This is all stuff that we can address at another point," he said. "It can be a story after the season is over, but right now, we are just concentrating on this game and what we have to do to win this game. If you win this game, all of that other stuff takes care of itself."

Last week, owner Robert Kraft said it was his hope the sides could reach an agreement.

"I think Wes wants to be here and we want him here," Kraft remarked. "Hopefully when the season ends, both sides will be wise enough to consummate something. He's pretty special. Any time there's a player on this team I can look eye to eye and be at the same level, he's an important guy."

In that case, it also might be good news for running back Danny Woodhead's future.