Belichick on Welker, Mankins and more

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Patriots coach Bill Belichick answered questions from reporters this morning at Gillette Stadium (9 a.m.) before the team’s first practice.

Some of the notable items:

Wes Welker remains on the active/PUP list. Belichick talked about Welker’s rehab and return from surgery to repair a torn left ACL. His words reflected how the team seems to be taking a cautious approach with Welker. “It’s a long rehab,” he said. “You go through different stages of it. … I think the last 10 to 20 percent of those injuries is the hardest part to get back. So we’ll see how it goes.”

Logan Mankins did not report with his teammates. As expected, the team’s starting left guard is not present. Mankins, who requested a trade in June, is not under contract and can not be fined.

Failed physical led to Crable’s release. Belichick was asked why the 2008 third-round draft choice was released Wednesday. “We didn’t feel like he was ready to compete and participate right now,” he responded, adding that the team failed him on his physical. Although Belichick did not say it directly, it sounded as if Crable did not show up ready to work in Belichick’s view after he had participated in offseason camps. Belichick did not rule out a potential return for Crable.

Training camp memories. Belichick, as he’s done in the past, talked about how training camp is different than when he entered the NFL in 1975 with the Baltimore Colts. He remembered that the Colts started training camp July 5 that year, and how there were six preseason games, three scrimmages, and approximately 30 double-session practices. Comparing that to today’s training camp, Belichick laughed. “Has training camp changed?” he asked. “[Players] have no idea.”