NFL notes: Broncos' Welker hoping to play against Patriots
Wes Welker returned to practice Thursday for the first time since leaving Sunday's game against Kansas City with a concussion.
Also back in action was tight end Julius Thomas (right knee). Both were limited as the Broncos (9-1) practiced in snowy, 20-degree weather, which interim head coach Jack Del Rio called a "blessing" as his team prepares for Sunday's game at chilly New England (7-3).
Welker, who passed his baseline concussion test earlier in the week, wasn't allowed any contact work. He'll get to do that Friday if all goes well.
He said he's hopeful he'll be able to play against his former team.
"I want to be out there," Welker said. "I mean, there are not too many games I've missed in my whole career and I love playing the game, especially in big atmospheres like this. So, I'm doing everything possible in my power to make sure that I get the opportunity to play in a game like this."
Welker, who spent six seasons as Tom Brady's bull's-eye in New England before signing a two-year, $12 million deal with Denver in the offseason, leads the Broncos with 61 receptions and has already tied his career high with nine TD catches from Peyton Manning.
Welker said it'll be strange playing in New England as a visitor for the first time since Oct. 8, 2006, when he was with the Miami Dolphins.
"But it's another game, another field. It's still the same size and everything else," Welker said. "I'm familiar with it, so that's an advantage for sure."
Jones: Garrett will be Cowboys coach in '14
Jason Garrett will start the stretch run in pursuit of his first trip to the playoffs on the same field where he debuted as coach of the Dallas Cowboys three years ago.
His job doesn't depend on whether he gets that postseason berth. At least that's what owner Jerry Jones said Thursday.
While saying he was "disappointed" in a 5-5 record that has dropped the Cowboys out of the top spot in the NFC East for the first time this season, Jones said Garrett will return in 2014 regardless of whether the Cowboys end their three-year playoff drought.
Asked if Garrett would be his coach next year, Jones twice said yes.
Incognito agrees to postpone grievance
Richie Incognito agreed to postpone his grievance hearing challenging his suspension by the Miami Dolphins until the NFL completes its investigation into the team's bullying scandal.
The hearing had been scheduled for Thursday.
The Dolphins released a statement, saying Incognito is cooperating fully and will meet with the league's special investigator, Ted Wells.
Tackle Jonathan Martin alleges he was harassed daily by teammates, including Incognito. Martin left the team Oct. 28, and Incognito was suspended Nov. 3.
Wells met Friday with Martin and has been interviewing Dolphins players, coaches and staff this week. The NFL hasn't said how long his investigation is expected to take.
Week 12 schedule
New Orleans at Atlanta, 6:25 p.m., NFL Network
Minnesota at Green Bay, 11 a.m., Ch. 13
Jacksonville at Houston, 11 a.m.
San Diego at Kansas City, 11 a.m.
Chicago at St. Louis, 11 a.m.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 11 a.m.
Tampa Bay at Detroit, 11 a.m.
N.Y. Jets at Baltimore, 11 a.m.
Carolina at Miami, 11 a.m.
Tennessee at Oakland, 2 p.m.
Indianapolis at Arizona, 2 p.m., Ch. 2
Dallas at N.Y. Giants, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 13
Denver at New England, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 5
Open • Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle
San Francisco at Washington, 6:40 p.m., ESPN