|Wes Welker: ‘I would never knowingly take a substance to gain a competitive advantage’||09.02.14 at 11:05 pm ET|
Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker issued a statement Tuesday night regarding the news that he faces a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on PEDs.
“I’m as shocked as everyone at today’s news,” the former Patriot wrote in an e-mail to The Denver Post. “I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I would NEVER knowingly take a substance to gain a competitive advantage in any way. Anyone who has ever played a down with me, lifted a weight with me, even eaten a meal with me, knows that I focus purely on what I put in my body and on the hard work I put in year round to perform at the highest levels year-in and year-out. I want any youth football players and all sports fans to know, there are NO shortcuts to success, and nothing but hard work and studying, leads to success.”
Welker also commented on the NFL’s drug policy.
“I have never been concerned with the leagues performance enhancing or drug abuse policies because under no scenario would they ever apply to me, but I now know, that [the drug-policy procedures] are clearly flawed, and I will do everything in my power to ensure they are corrected, so other individuals and teams aren’t negatively affected so rashly like this. I have worked my whole life to be the best that I can be, and I have encountered many obstacles over my career, and THIS WILL BE NO DIFFERENT! Thank you for the outpouring of support, and I want Bronco nation to know, that no one and no thing will get in the way of our goal as a team, to bring Mr. Bowlen the trophy he and this great region deserve.”
In a related note, Welker’s suspension was made official Tuesday evening — the receiver will begin serving his ban this week when the Broncos open the regular season.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league’s PED policy, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. According to Schefter, the violation was for amphetamines.
The 33-year-old Welker, in his second season in Denver, went through the appeal process two weeks ago, according to Albert Breer of NFL Network, and he was apparently notified Tuesday that he lost his appeal.
According to a report from Pro Football Talk, the ban under the PED policy happened because Welker ingested MDMA (also known as “Molly”) that had been cut with amphetamines while at the Kentucky Derby in May. Both substances are banned substance under the league’s PED policy.
Welker, who has struggled with concussions as of late, had 73 catches for 778 yards and 10 touchdowns last season with the Broncos.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Gregg Doyel on D&C: If Wes Welker ‘never plays again, I think that would be fabulous’||08.26.14 at 8:58 am ET|
CBSSports.com national columnist Gregg Doyel checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to discuss the NFL concussion issue, specifically related to Broncos receiver Wes Welker. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Welker suffered his third diagnosed concussion in 10 months when he was drilled in the head during his team’s preseason game against the Texans on Saturday.
“I’m not a big believer in telling adults what they can and can’t do, ideally — ideally — so I don’t think the NFL ought to be telling Welker, so I don’t think that should happen,” Doyel said. “But I do think two things about this. One is, I’m disturbed when coaches talk about, ‘We’ll follow protocol and see what happens next.’ … That’s a human being you’re talking about. Sometimes it really doesn’t matter what the damn protocol says. How about you not play that guy?”
Added Doyel: “The NFL shouldn’t be telling anybody who can and can’t play, but if 32 individual teams, starting with the Broncos, all made the same compassionate choice that, ‘Wes Welker, you can play in the league if you want, but I can’t be the reason you’re playing. I’m not going to pay you a paycheck to go out and get hit in the head again.’ And if all 32 teams — don’t call it collusion, but just if all of them come to the same conclusion that, ‘We like you too much to see you die under our watch,’ and he never plays again, I think that would be fabulous.”
Doyel said he does not have faith in the teams’ medical staffs.
“Historically, there have been issues with team doctors. Historically. Not every one of them, obviously. But enough of them,” he said. “All it takes is a couple. Look, if one cockroach walks across your plate of food, you don’t want to eat that food. It didn’t take a lot of cockroaches, it just took one. Well, there’s been a handful of doctors over the years — and a big handful — that have played players because their team needed them, and cleared them because their team needed them. There’s only so much faith I can put in a guy when he’s talking about an asset. And Wes Welker is an asset.
“And Wes Welker thinks he can play and wants to play — this is hypothetical — but Wes Welker thinks he can play and wants to play, is convinced he ought to play, the guy makes X number of dollars in the salary cap, it’s too late to get a replacement, ‘OK, looks like the protocol’s been followed, go back and get back on the field.’
“At some point — again, we’re talking pie in the sky here, I am, but so are you to assume that, well, if they clear him, then obviously he’s OK. Says who?”
|Tim Hasselbeck on D&C: ‘I think Wes [Welker] has had more than 10 concussions’ since 2007||08.25.14 at 10:18 am ET|
ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss Wes Welker‘s history of concussions, Ryan Mallett‘s future in the NFL and more. To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
While Hasselbeck stands by his view from earlier this month that the Broncos have a leg up on the Patriots in terms of talent, he acknowledged that he is concerned about Welker, who suffered his third diagnosed concussion in 10 months during Denver’s preseason game against the Texans on Saturday.
“I said before, I think Denver has a better roster, if you look at both sides of the ball and the experience they have,” Hasselbeck said. “I’ve heard some people kind of minimize this Welker situation. … It, in some ways, annoys me when people minimize what Wes is able to do. Wes had 73 catches in an offense that’s got a ton of guys that get the football. … Outside of these concussions, the guy has been so reliable, so I think it’s a significant blow.
“Whether or not it swings the balance between New England and Denver, I don’t know. But if he, in fact, is done, and let’s face it: three concussions in 10 months, that’s not a good situation.”
While Welker’s career has been highlighted by his tough play and willingness to go over the middle of the field despite the risk of taking big hits, Hasselbeck said that the wide receiver’s increasing number of head injuries certainly is a cause for concern.
“You don’t know anything about the injuries in New England, so he gets there in 2007 and for the most part, plays in all 16 games with a few missed here and there. You guys saw hits that he took, you saw him get up dazed at times,” Hasselbeck said, adding: “I’m going to tell you right now, if he’s had three [concussions] in 10 months, and I’ve seen the hits that he took in New England … the shots that he took were brutal. So count them up.
“To me, I think Wes has had more than 10 concussions, from 2007 to now. Now, there’s no way to prove it, he would never admit, New England would never say that that’s the case. … I would be concerned.”
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning and talked about his confidence in the team’s offense, NFL injuries, doing brain exercises and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Patriots offense struggled at times last season as Brady got used to a new group of receivers. There remains concern that this offense has some issues that will limit its effectiveness, but Brady said the Patriots continue to tune out criticism from outside Gillette Stadium.
“Truthfully, we’ve never really paid attention to the external voices that are out there,” he said. “We just try to focus on what we need to do, what our job is. Because the only people that can really affect what we do are the people that are inside that offensive meeting room.
“We have high expectations. We’ve had some great offenses over the years, and our expectation is to go out there and be a great offense, and that’s one that doesn’t turn the ball over, one that plays physical and smart, makes great decisions and plays great situational football. I think we did a great job of that — we’ve always done a great job of that over the years.
“Coaches talk a lot about situational football, making the plays when it really counts. There’s a lot of games that are decided by three points or less, and the teams that are the ones that win those games — the ones that are three points or less — those are the ones that are the ones that you’ve got to look out for. Teams that really find a way to win, teams that find a way to lose — hopefully we’re one of those offenses that finds ways to win when we have the opportunity.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that have made contributions thus far over the course of the OTAs and the preseason games. We’re going to need that over the course of the year, because it’s a long year. All the guys that are active in that skill group are going to need to be performers for us at whatever level, whatever role they make for themselves. Hopefully we can be one of the top offenses in the league. But we’ve got to go out there and earn it. No one’s going to make it easy for us.”
One of the keys to the Patriots offense clicking early is the players staying healthy, something Brady noted has been a positive in the preseason.
“We’ve done a really good job over the course of the preseason. I think one of the most important things we’ve done is that we’ve all been out there practicing. I think there’s guys that have really made a great commitment over the offseason to get ready and prepare themselves to be out there every day to make the improvements,” Brady said.
“All the skill guys, the receivers have all been out there almost every day practicing, had a lot of opportunities over the summer to work, and the spring, and it’s the same thing. Hopefully we can get some other guys who haven’t been out there back in the mix so that they can incorporate themselves into the offense and we can really see where we’re at — guys like [Aaron Dobson] and [Rob Gronkowski].
“It is fun for all of us to go out and execute well. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
|Tom Brady thanks Wes Welker for mentoring Julian Edelman, develops chemistry with Danny Amendola||08.05.14 at 9:34 pm ET|
After a scorching practice against the Redskins Tuesday in Richmond, Brady thanked Welker for helping to develop Julian Edelman, a working relationship that continues to blossom in the Patriots passing game.
Brady was asked Tuesday if he feels he’s getting close to the same chemistry with Edelman that he had with Welker.
“Well, it’s hard to compare,” Brady said. “I think Wes was such a special player for our team and I was fortunate enough to play with him for that period. But Julian in his own right has worked his tail off. I think he really had a great mentor in Wes, someone he could really look up to.
“They play a little bit similar; different players, but they both work extremely hard. Football is so important to the both of them and I think that really wore off on Julian. Julian has worked his tail off to get where he’s at. I think he’s really taken advantage of every opportunity that he’s gotten, Julian has. I’m really proud of him. He keeps coming out and making plays and he’s done such a great job being so dependable and reliable for our team, it’s great to have him.”
What has been obvious so far in training camp practices is that Brady’s favorite target not named Rob Gronkowski is Edelman. Brady and Edelman have been clicking. Edelman has made play after play and Brady has rewarded him by looking in his direction time after time.
That doesn’t mean Brady won’t poke a little fun at Edelman and Danny Amendola, who showed flashes of brilliance on Tuesday in the marathon practice in Richmond.
“I’ve got some of the little pygmies out there like Julian and Danny and it’s nice to have a little bigger guy out there from time to time who has a bigger catch radius,” Brady said. “Hopefully, Danny and Julian don’t get mad at me for saying that. They won’t. They know I’m joking.”
That “little bigger guy” Brady refers to is Brandon LaFell, who has been getting a few more looks on the first team when not catching passes from Ryan Mallett.
“He keeps making more plays,” Brady said of LaFell. “He’s done a great job. Today he made a lot of plays out there. He’s understanding better and better. He’s a veteran. He’s savvy, knows how to run the routes, big body, big frame, makes a lot of tough catches.”
|Bill Belichick on report Patriots had Jets playbook: ‘Talk to Mike Pettine’||06.19.14 at 12:30 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Here we go again.
In the latest edition of Monday Morning Quarterback on SI.com, columnist Greg Bedard reports that new Browns head coach and former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine believes that old copies of the Jets playbook, circa 2011, may have wound up in the hands of the Patriots.
“The initial playbook itself is actually quite thin, and that’s by design,” Pettine told Bedard. “I don’t put a lot of graduate-level information in it. We know in places like New England, it’s only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook.”
Pettine told Bedard that there was a story circulating that at Wes Welker‘s wedding in 2012, Tom Brady laughed with Jets outside linebackers coach Mike Smith (Welker’s college roommate at Texas Tech) that the Patriots “may or may not” have had possession of some Jets defensive playbooks.
“It didn’t shock me because Rex would give them out like candy anyway,” Pettine continued. “He gave one out to [Alabama coach Nick] Saban and I was like, ‘Don’t you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England.’ ”
Belichick, who told reporters he was allowing just three questions before leaving for the summer, was asked about the charges after Thursday’s final minicamp session. Belichick was specifically asked if he has ever had the Jets playbook at some point.
“[Go] talk to Mike Pettine. I don’t know,” Belichick offered.
Darrelle Revis played for Mike Pettine as recently as 2012, when he tore his ACL in September in a game against the Dolphins. Revis was also asked about the playbook charges after Thursday’s minicamp. He laughed and was somewhat more insightful when asked if he knew the Patriots may have had the playbook.
“No, I don’t know anything about that,” Revis said. “I don’t know. I don’t even know how to answer that. If they did, they did. If they didn’t, they didn’t. At that point, it really doesn’t matter. You still have to go out there and compete and go out there and win the game.”
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