"My goal is to get out there on the field as soon as possible," Welker said, "and Week 1 is definitely something I'm shooting for. We'll see what happens."
Welker, who underwent reconstructive left knee surgery over the offseason, acknowledged that the decision will ultimately be made by coach Bill Belichick and the team's trainers.
But Welker is well on his way. He hasn't missed a day of training camp and his striking comeback reached an encouraging milestone Thursday when he participated in full-contact drills. They were the first hits Welker had taken in public since he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the Jan. 3 regular-season finale against the Houston Texans. He also had surgery to repair a rotator cuff in March.
Welker told Schefter on Friday that the injury was difficult to accept initially, and admitted to showing his emotions after coming off the field and realizing the implications. "I'm not going to lie, I had some tears out there," he said.
He added that teammate Tom Brady, who had similar knee surgery last year, helped him through the offseason recovery period by being there "through the whole thing" and commiserating with him.
"It was good to have someone to kind of lean on," Welker said.