Welker doesn't estimate timetable

New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker on Thursday expressed optimism with his rehabilitation as he works his way back after knee surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left knee.

"It's going really well," Welker said in an interview on Boston sports radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub. "Really just plugging along, working hard every day, and that's my plan -- just getting up in the morning, putting my game face on, and working hard, and trying to get ready as soon as possible."

Welker did not put a timetable on his potential return.

"The season is still pretty far away, and we have some time, so I'm just going to continue to work hard and do the best I can to get back on the field as soon as I can," he said. "I'm not going to try to push it before it's ready."

Welker has been working out on the West Coast with quarterback Tom Brady, who had similar knee surgery in 2008 and has been impressed by the receiver's toughness.

"Wes is an old throwback. He's so mentally tough," Brady said in an interview earlier this week on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "Physically, he's tough to play that position at his size and the hits he's taken. He's a great teammate. He works harder than anybody on the team. When you're faced with what he's been faced with this offseason, that's how he's approached it. It's really been fun for me to see him and the improvement he makes on a daily basis when pretty much I was going through the same thing he was going through. He's made me look like I was a year behind schedule."

Welker was also asked if he agreed with Brady's remarks that the team was not mentally tough in 2009.

"Yeah, I do agree with him," Welker said. "There were some areas where we lacked that. There is not a whole lot of Rodney Harrisons and Mike Vrabels and Tedy Bruschis of the world. We have to do our best to try to replace guys like that that bring a lot of mental toughness to the team. I think the coaches have really tried to address that. I know it's something coach [Bill] Belichick preaches every year. So we have to make sure guys are setting good examples and kind of channeling that down to younger guys and making sure we're on the same page and working hard together and playing together and being mentally tough together."

In his third season with New England, Welker set a franchise record with 123 catches in 2009 despite missing almost three complete games. He had 1,348 yards and four touchdowns and was named to the All-Pro team. He sustained the knee injury in the final game of the regular season.

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.