Rams receiver Wes Welker looking past concussion history

Jemele is uncomfortable with Welker signing (1:48)

The His and Hers crew explain how they are a little worried for the safety of Rams newly-acquired WR Wes Welker due to his history of concussions, even though the Rams have given him a clean bill of health. (1:48)

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- St. Louis Rams wide receiver Wes Welker returned to a football field in an official capacity for the first time in more than 10 months Tuesday afternoon.

When the short practice session was over, Welker discussed why he came back halfway through the season and why he wanted to continue to play after a lengthy history of concussions.

"I already played a full season without a concussion, so I'm really not worried about it," Welker said in reference to 2014. "I know I'm the poster child right now and everything else. I'm good, and I'm ready to play some ball."

Welker became the self-proclaimed poster child for concussions after he suffered at least six media-documented concussions in his 12-year career, including three in a span of nine months and two in a period of three weeks.

Despite a productive career in which Welker logged 890 catches for 9,822 yards and 50 touchdowns, he went unsigned after his contract with the Denver Broncos expired following the 2014 season.

Welker said he believes there were some opportunities to sign somewhere after that, but he wasn't sure he wanted to keep playing. When he started training again over the summer in Florida, Welker said he felt like he could still play after a few days back on the field.

Asked whether he believes the concussion issues were the reason he didn't have a job, Welker demurred.

"I have no idea about that," Welker said. "You'd have to ask GMs and coaches about that one. I have no clue."

But Welker was also OK with staying home because he and his wife had twins about three months ago. After the family got into a routine, Welker said he felt more comfortable returning to the field.

More importantly, Welker passed all the medical tests to return.

"I've been cleared by the doctors and everything else," Welker said. "Obviously, I'm not going to try to look for contact and everything like that, but I'm not thinking about it either. I'm out there playing hard and playing the way I need to play to be successful out there. You start second-guessing yourself out there, [and] that's when you get in trouble. So I'm just going to go out there and play hard and play the way I play, but I'm not worried about that."

From the Rams' perspective, coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that the team had no qualms with his medical reports or physical. When the NFL officially suspended wideout Stedman Bailey for four games for violation of its policy on substance abuse, the Rams worked out Welker, Hakeem Nicks and Vincent Brown.

Fisher said Welker was the best fit, in part because of the team's struggles on third down and Welker's history of excelling in that instance.

Asked whether he had any trepidation about signing Welker because of his history of concussions, Fisher said he didn't want to turn down a player who wanted to keep playing.

"No, he expressed an interest," Fisher said. "This is his decision. He missed football. He loves football. He's fine. He hasn't had any issues. He just wants to play and help us win."

How soon Welker is able to do that remains to be seen. He has spent extra time at the Rams facility attempting to get acclimated to his new playbook. He also stayed on the practice field with quarterback Nick Foles for extra reps Tuesday afternoon.

Fisher indicated the Rams are putting in a small package of plays for him in an effort to get him up to speed, but it's no guarantee Welker will be in his new No. 19 jersey for this week's game against the Chicago Bears.

For now, though, that's where Welker wants the focus to be.

"I think I have covered the concussion deal about as far as I need to at this point," Welker said. "I feel great. I'm not worried about down the line or anything. I'm just focused on taking it day by day and getting ready for this weekend."