|Wes Welker not worried about a new deal: ‘I have so much more to prove and conquer’||07.26.12 at 6:59 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Wes Welker was asked about the focus in the Patriots locker room as he joked Thursday about the “Summer of Gronk” and the well being of Rob Gronkowski.
But the irony is he might as well have been talking about himself.
“It’s great,” Welker said in describing the culture inside the Patriots locker room — otherwise known as the “Patriot Way.”
“You need that atmosphere,” he continued. “Sometimes you can be distracted by other places, and here it’s just football. That’s what I love about it, it’s not getting caught up in everything else and really focusing on the task at hand and understanding we have to get better every day to go out and win games.”
That part about “It’s just football” really hits home with Welker, since he can focus on football to take his mind of the fact that a contract extension nearly got done before he settled for playing under the one-year, $9 million franchise tender offer.
“Sure, but I think that’s with everything, you always kind of think it’s going to happen,” Welker said. “I think you just get excited, but at the same time you’re very fortunate with the position you’re in, so I really look forward to really playing out this year and playing some of the best ball I can play.”
He added that it won’t be difficult for him to separate business from football.
“Not very challenging,” Welker said. “I mean, I understand the business side of it. I’m not worried about it. I’m excited about this year and excited about what we can do to win games.”
Welker reported to camp on Thursday with the rest of the Patriots veterans and insisted there are no hard feelings after he and the team could not work out a long-term contract before the July 16 deadline.
“I approach it like any other year, go out there and try and help my team win games,” Welker said. “That’s the bottom line for me. That’s where my focus is, just whatever my role is, just try to help the team win.
“You’ve got to prove it every year, so there’s no year where you don’t need to prove it, so it’s like any other year. The contract and everything else is out of my mind and it’s really just going out there and focusing in on playing good ball.”
Welker said he is not holding a grudge against the team as the Patriots begin preparations for the regular season.
“Not at all,” Welker said. “Everyone tried. I tried, they tried and it just didn’t work out. It’s in the past and we’re moved onto this season, which we expect to be a good one. We’re working towards it and working hard to have a great season this year.
“It’s good to be back. It seems like just yesterday we were just playing. It’s just exciting. It’s fun to be out here with your teammates and getting better and getting ready for the new season.”
Now, for Welker, it’s about putting Super Bowl XLVI and “the drop” behind him.
“We have a lot of good players on our team and everybody really working together and understanding that we all work off each other,” he said. “The more guys we have out there doing the right thing, the better off we’re going to be as an offense. It’s exciting to see and we still have a lot of work ahead of us, and we look forward to it.
“I don’t like to look back too much, and try to look forward and think that I have so much more that I can prove and conquer out there, and I plan on working hard and do what it takes to go out and do it. To be consistent, I have to stay consistent so I have to keep on playing well.
So what if Welker, who is entering his sixth season with the Patriots, goes out and has another 90-catch season with 900 yards and 15 TDs? What if this time he catches the ball that seals the Super Bowl victory for the Patriots in New Orleans? What if the Patriots next March do the very same thing and franchise him for what would likely be one year in the neighborhood of $11 million? Worried?
“Not at all, not at all,” Welker said Thursday. “Shoot, that’s a great situation. So, I’m not too worried about that.”
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