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NFL Roundup: Welker had tough time with Belichick

The SportsXchange

Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker said in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated that part of the reason he left the New England Patriots was because of coach Bill Belichick.

Welker signed a free agent contract with the Broncos in the offseason.

Welker said Belichick "got on him in a way he never had before, admonishing him in front of the team. ... It was just kind of hard. One of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him. ... But he does it to everybody, it's the way he is."

The forthright Welker said Patriots players are required to be evasive with reporters because it is part of Belichick's media policy. He also said Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is also very demanding.

---First-year Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly announced Thursday that Michael Vick will start the exhibition opener against the New England Patriots over Nick Foles.

Kelly expects Foles to also take snaps with the first unit. The rookie coach said the decision had nothing to do with performance in training camp.

"It was Mike's day in the rotation, that was the easiest way for us to do it and then we'll make sure the rotation works out that Nick will get the start next week," Kelly said on the team's website. "The two of those guys, we feel like we've got it balanced out. We met with those guys this morning, they were great with it, so that's kind of our plan going in."

---The San Francisco 49ers bolstered their cornerback corps with the signing of veteran Eric Wright to a one-year deal Thursday. Wright was acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month, but the deal was rescinded after Wright failed a physical and the Bucs ultimately released him July 22.

The 49ers did not disclose why Wright failed the physical and clearly believe he's healthy enough to compete for a roster spot in training camp.

The secondary suffered a significant loss with the season-ending injury to cornerback Chris Culliver, who tore an ACL last week.

---The NFL is watching this month's preseason games with a close eye to help determine its future format, according to NFL.com.

The league is also looking into lowering ticket prices across the board for exhibition games.

Several options are being examined that would affect the number of preseason and regular season games played per season. Commissioner Roger Goodell has previously discussed lengthening the regular season and many have complained that the preseason is too long. Those options include having 18 regular season and two preseason games, a 17-and-three split and a 16-and-two division. A change could possibly take effect in 2014.

---Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Donald Jones announced thta he is retiring because of a kidney disease.

Jones, an undrafted free agent in 2010, caught 82 passes for 887 yards with six touchdowns in three seasons with the Bills.

He signed with the New England Patriots in March and was cut in July.

---The Indianapolis Colts signed free agent linebacker Shawn Loiseau and undrafted rookie free agent safety Ashante Williams.

The Colts also waived injured guard Justin Anderson and wide receiver Rodrick Rumble. If Anderson clears waivers, he will go on injured reserve.

Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who has been day to day with a left knee sprain, returned to practice Thursday. Safety Joe Lefeged has a slight calf strain and was in a walking boot as a precaution.
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