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More catches, less comedy for Wes Welker going forward

10.08.12 at 5:26 pm ET

FOXBORO — Wes Welker might choose his words a little more carefully the next time around.

As the wide receiver plays out the season under the franchise tag, the questions of where Welker stands with the team and coach Bill Belichick going forward will continue to pop up. Welker didn’t help matters Sunday when he said it was “nice to stick it in Bill’s face” with his 13-catch performance against the Broncos after not being as big a part of the offense earlier in the season.

“I mean, it was a joke,” Welker said. “I don’t know what else to say about it. It was a joke. Bill and I, whether y’all believe it or not, have a good relationship and it was a joke. I’ll make sure to keep that in-house going forward.”

Given Welker’s situation, he admitted it’s hard for him to say anything without it receiving extra attention.

“Yeah, obviously, so you’ve just got to be careful with what you say,” Welker said. “Bill does a good job of challenging us and being a great coach and doing things necessary that he needs to do. I made a joke about it, and it won’t happen again.”

Welker has been punished for what he’s said in the past, as cryptic jabs at Jets coach Rex Ryan‘s foot fetish cost him playing time early in the Pats‘ playoff loss to the Jets in the divisional round in the 2010 season. He said he doesn’t expect any repercussions for Sunday’s comment.

“I don’t think so at all,” he said. “We’re just concentrating on Seattle this week and getting ready for the game.”

In the Patriots’ season-opening win against the Titans, Welker was thrown to just five times and had three receptions for 14 yards. He was kept quiet in the first half of the Pats’ Week 2 loss to the Cardinals, but he finished that game with five catches for 95 yards on 11 targets. His numbers have steadily increased since then (eight catches for 142 yards in Week 3, nine for 129 in Week 4 and 13 for 104 Sunday), so much so that Welker is tied with Minnesota’s Percy Harvin for second in the league with 38 receptions. Only Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez (39) is ahead of Welker and Harvin.

After all the questions of his comment and his relationship with Belichick, Welker was given the opportunity to agree that Belichick is the best coach ever, to which he responded, “No doubt he is, and that’s not a joke.”

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