Another step for Wes Welker

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Receiver Wes Welker took another step forward in his return from surgery to repair his torn left ACL, participating in full-pads, full-team drills for the first time on Thursday morning.

While the Patriots have not had live tackling through 14 training camp practices, Welker did absorb his first contact this morning, on the receiving end of two hits from linebacker Jerod Mayo in 11-on-11 drills.

Welker got back up both times with no issues.

On the second hit, Welker (5-9, 185) was running across the middle, from left to right, and caught the ball in the area that Mayo was standing. His momentum led him directly into Mayo (6-1, 245), causing him to fall to the ground with a thud, the crackling sound of shoulder pads easily heard by the thousands in attendance.