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New England Patriots Links 2/03/10 - Welker's Surgery Successful

<em>Wes Welker will still need a six month rehabilitation period following yesterday's surgery.</em>
Wes Welker will still need a six month rehabilitation period following yesterday's surgery.

Monique Walker and Adam Kilgore report Wes Welker is okay after surgery yesterday.

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker is "perfectly OK’’ after undergoing surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital yesterday to repair torn ligaments in his knee, said a person with knowledge of the surgery.

Welker tore both the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament in his left knee in the regular-season finale against Houston Jan. 3. In the month since the injury, Welker has waited to have the surgery to allow his MCL to heal to protect against an infection.

Recovery time for the Patriots star slot receiver could be anywhere from 6-12 months. It does not appear likely that Welker will be ready to play in the 2010 season opener, although that has not been ruled out.

Bill Cowher believes even if the Indianapolis Colts win the Super Bowl on Sunday, the New England Patriots should be considered the best team of the past decade and scoffed at the idea the Spygate scandal had any impact. 

"I think the decade still has to go to New England," Cowher said Tuesday at a CBS Sports news conference to preview the Super Bowl. "But the Pittsburgh Steelers went to a lot of championship games, won two Super Bowls. The Colts I'm not so sure within the last five years they haven't been the most consistent football team.

"But you go back to the body of work and the consistency, and I think New England CLEARLY is above everybody else. They never had that one down year. They've been on the brink from when they first won in 2001 until this past year they were in the playoffs. They've been the most consistent team."

"The humility that they won with, that's what set them apart," Cowher said. "I learned a lot from their ability to respect an opponent every week, to not get caught up with it.

"I remember taking a lot from the way the New England Patriots handled success. To me, they epitomize that. How you handle success and not get caught up in it makes them role models."

Cowher seems to absolve the Patriots for any wrongdoing [for spygate]:

"Listen, there's people stealing signals all the time before that," Cowher said. "You have ways to hide those things. We had wristbands for our defense. I remember trying to get offensive plays and see what the formations were. Everybody knows.

"You're trying to gain a competitive edge. Did that go beyond it? To a degree. Do I think that helped them win football games? No. You still have to go out and play the game. I still have a hard time believing that was a difference in a game."

Ian Rapoport reports Heath Evans and Randall Gay both credit their experience with the Patriots as valuable wisdom they both hope to share with their new team.

I think that’s why I was brought here," Evans, who tore his ACL in late October, said yesterday. "(Coach) Sean (Payton) wants better leaders, better character guys. It’s highly known Bill (Belichick) only brings in good guys in New England. What I learned from him was priceless. I’m constantly trying to dive into that memory bank that really benefited us in my four years there."

Evans harps on preparation, using his experience against the Colts and preaching, "If you don’t (prepare), they won’t just beat you, they’ll embarrass you."

He’s not alone. Saints cornerback Randall Gay was part of one Super Bowl winner, and his message has been simple.

"We’re not here to party," Gay said. "Maybe at the beginning of the week you party, but from now on, we have a job to do. Our goal isn’t to come to Miami to play in the Super Bowl. We want to win the Super Bowl. That was always the mindset of the Patriots."