FOXBORO - Is it an injury? Or some other form of disconnect that has suddenly developed between Patriots' wide receiver Wes Welker and head coach Bill Belichick?
Neither would say Monday as the Patriots started their very short week of preparation for the preseason finale against the New York Giants on Wednesday (7 p.m.; Ch. 4, 64). But it was clear to reporters that clustered around Welker in the Gillette Stadium locker room that the use of polite but dismissive "Ask Coach Belichick " answers to simple questions might be indications of some sort of rift - one that may have been intensified Monday with the revelation that tight end Aaron Hernandez has been given a five-year, $40 million contract extension.