FOXBORO — Wes Welker  isn’t about to be intimidated – on Sunday’s stage or any stage for that matter.
Goodness knows, people have tried.
There was the Ryan Clark  hit in the Steelers game at Gillette in 2008. There have been numerous attempts by the Jets and Dolphins over the last five seasons. There was a big hit delivered by Texans safety Glover Quin in the second quarter of last week’s game at Gillette Stadium .
Still, no one has succeeded in keeping Welker from standing up to punishment and running routes over the middle. He even has a shiner this week thanks to the punishment from last week’s game.
But ask Welker if anyone intimidates him, and he laughs at you the same way he laughs at the defense trying to punish him.
“Intimidate me?” Welker replied Thursday when asked the question.
The reporter brought up the Clark hit from 2008.
“I don’t know. I don’t know about intimidating me or anything like that,” Welker said. “There are guys that talk trash. There are guys that try to hit you and do all these different things but I feel like I have been around long enough to know a tough guy when I see one.”
Does it fuel Welker?
“Sometimes, it just depends. Sometimes it’s dirty or in bad taste,” Welker said.
Welker stands 5-feet-9 and weighs just 190 pounds. Welker was reminded Thursday the NFL is played by enormous individuals. For those that aren’t blessed with that kind of size, what does he use to overcome that?
“I think the two key things are being tough and being smart,” Welker said. “Being able to take those hits and do all of those things and at the same time being smart and understanding what the defense is doing and being able to attack it in a certain way where you can maybe make those windows just a little bit bigger where you are not taking those hits and things like that. I would attribute it to being tough and being smart and really understanding the game.”
“Yeah, we’ve talked about it before and [Tom Brady ] and I have talked about it too,” Welker said. “It’s a long season and every little hit adds up, so there are times where you have to know when the ride is over and get down and look to see another day and things like that. We’ve discussed it before but at the same time if you need to get a first down or whatever, you got to do what you got to do.”
Welker was asked if it’s hard to do since his D.N.A. seems to be to get every possible yard.
“You learn. You learn,” Welker said.