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Wes Welker's third concussion raises questions

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How long will Denver's all-star slot receiver miss after suffering his third concussion in 10 months? Is his quality of life after football at risk?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

I think Peyton Manning spoke for all Broncos fans when he said - well, what he said - to D.J. Swearinger after Swearinger knocked his receiver Wes Welker out of the game with a concussion, 15-yard penalty be damned.

"It was determined it was a concussion and he'll go through the protocol, obviously," head coach John Fox said.

It was Welker's third concussion in 10 months, and if the previous concussions are any sign, the Broncos may be looking at a period of time - even an extended period of time - without Welker in the starting lineup.

"I don't know about multiple ones a year ago but, again, not being a doctor, I will leave that to the medical people," said Fox. "He won't come back until he's ready to come back."

When Welker suffered his first concussion on November 17th, he missed one game. He suffered his next concussion less than a month later, on December 9th, and didn't return to the field until the Broncos' playoff run began on January 12th. He was able to get through the Broncos' three postseason games without a concussion, as well as two subsequent preseason games. But when you start counting "games in a row without a concussion," instead of concussions, you've crossed a line that merits pause.

"He'll go through the protocol, and our guys do a fantastic job," Fox offered.

But concussions are scary. We don't understand them. They raise questions about a person's quality of life. They raise questions about whether football is worth it at all.

Is Welker considering retirement right now? No one knows but him.

"He won't come back until he's ready to come back." -John Fox

John Fox did not offer a timetable for Welker's return, and he likely won't until he knows more. It's possible Welker will miss some playing time early this year, and it's possible the five-star helmet negated the effect, and Welker will be ready opening day. We just don't know.

So we have to wait, and ponder the questions concussions raise.