|Wes Welker on D&C: ‘You’ve just got to move on’||06.20.13 at 9:14 am ET|
Former Patriots receiver Wes Welker, now a member of the Broncos, joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning and continued to insist he has no hard feelings toward his former organization for letting him go this offseason, saying that he wants to “put all of that stuff in the past.”
“It’s part of the business,” Welker said. “Obviously, I’m 32 years old. I’m sure that played a factor. There’s all different things like that. It’s just part of the business. I’m sure as fans, just like players, you don’t always like it or agree with it. It’s just the way it is and there’s really nothing you can do about it. There’s no reason to get hung up on it. You’ve just got to move on and move forward.”
Welker noted he’s “always had a good relationship” with Bill Belichick, and he said he accepts that the Patriots had their reasons for playing hardball in contract discussions and wanting to consider other options.
“In negotiations they use whatever they can against you, and all those things,” he said. “Everybody’s going to say what they need to say to help their side of the negotiation. That’s just the way it is. You know what you have and believe in yourself and knowing what you can do and going out there and being able to execute the way you need to execute and making sure that you’re staying on top of your body and eating right and getting massages and doing those things so you can play for a long time, and doing the right things whenever it comes to that so you can.”
Despite having more catches than any other receiver over the last six years, Welker often does not get the respect of some of the league’s more flashy pass-catchers.
“Really, I [couldn't] care less, really, to be honest with you,” he said. “I play to win the game. Whatever observations or opinions people want to have, that’s their prerogative. But for me, I just want to go out there and help my team win.”
Welker famously was benched for the opening series of the Patriots-Jets playoff game in January 2011 after subtly tweaking Jets coach Rex Ryan in a press conference a few days before the game. Welker said he doesn’t question Belichick’s decision to punish him — at least not publicly.
“That’s not my call,” he said. “It’s not my decision. It doesn’t really matter what I think or anything else. What happened, happened. I wish I could take it back, but it is what it is.”
Asked what he’ll miss about Boston, Welker responded: “Just the atmosphere. Like you talked about, the restaurants, everything else. Everything else about the city of Boston that I made a home in and everything like that. And the fans. That constant emotion that they have about their team and how they wanted that success for them. I’ll definitely miss all that.”
|Wes Welker: ‘Never any regrets’ about way things ended with Patriots||06.19.13 at 7:52 pm ET|
CHESTNUT HILL — Wes Welker said he didn’t have any regrets about his departure from the Patriots, but did acknowledge there were some melancholy feelings when he returned to New England for an event Wednesday.
The wide receiver was in town as part of an event involving noted hair restoration expert Dr. Robert Leonard, who recently gave an assist to the follicly-challenged Welker. Talking with reporters, Welker said that he didn’t regret leaving the Patriots for the Broncos as a free agent in March, and added that there were no hard feelings between him and the franchise.
“Never any regrets. I think you go out there and play your game and you don’t really look back. In decisions and the way I play, I never want to have any regrets. So I never look back like that,” he said.
The 32-year-old Welker, who arrived in New England via a trade with the Dolphins prior to the start of the 2007 season, became the first receiver in NFL history in 2012 with at least five seasons of 100 or more receptions. Overall, in six seasons with the Patriots, he caught 672 passes for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns.
However, in the days after Welker signed a new deal with Denver, there was a lot of debate about which contract was better, as representatives for the wide receiver disputed the claims put forth by New England and owner Robert Kraft.
But Welker, who surpassed 100 catches in five of his six seasons in New England, said Wednesday he doesn’t feel underappreciated for what he did with the Patriots,
“Unfortunately, it’s the business side of football,” he shrugged. “As a player, you don’t like [it], but you understand it. You just move on and look toward the future.”
Welker did confess to being “a little sad” being in the area on Wednesday while recalling some of the good times.
“Just because you had so many years here and it was such a great time and everything else. But you try and think about it too much and go on to the future and just hope for the best,” he said.
“It’s been great. I was walking around Boston and people were coming up and [saying], ‘Thank you for everything’ and stuff like that,” he added. “It’s been really cool to come back and see that. I was afraid maybe they might throw stones at me or something. They’ve been more than great to me. It’s been great to be able to come back.”
Read the rest of this entry »
|New Bronco Wes Welker: Tom Brady ‘was upset’ about receiver’s departure||06.10.13 at 10:41 am ET|
Former Patriots receiver Wes Welker, now a member of the Broncos, admitted in a meeting with the media in Denver on Sunday that he feels freer to speak his mind since parting ways with Bill Belichick.
“I feel like I can be myself a little more for sure,” Welker said, via Yahoo! Sports, adding that he’d received no pre-interview warnings from the Broncos. “Here? No. … All they told me was, ‘Just be yourself.’ ”
Welker, who signed a two-year, $12 million deal with Denver in the offseason, made it clear that he plans to use his acrimonious departure from New England as motivation this year.
“Wherever you can pull any sort of motivation that you need to use to go out there and play the way you need to play, I say use it,” Welker said when asked about proving that his success is not just due to the Patriots’ system. “So whatever it is, then yeah, I’ll definitely pull from wherever I can.”
Welker was very close with Tom Brady, and he said the quarterback — who publicly has said little about the issue — was not pleased that the team let Welker go after Brady renegotiated his deal to free up more money.
“You know, after it happened, obviously we talked and everything like that,” Welker said. “He was upset about it, and part of me was a little upset about it, too. But things happen for a reason, and I’m excited about the opportunities here and the type of team we have and things that we can do.”
Added Welker: “It is [a bummer], but I think he understands it, and I understand it. … It’s been going on for years and years. I’m not the first [Patriots] player that this happened to, and I definitely won’t be the last.”
|It Is What It Is Cast: Chris Price, Jeff Howe talk Patriots offseason||06.01.13 at 12:18 am ET|
On the latest edition of the “It Is What It Is Cast,” WEEI’s Chris Price talks with the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe about the Patriots offseason, Rob Gronkowski‘s back surgery, Danny Amendola replacing Wes Welker, and how the 2013 team could stack up against last seasons. Click here to listen or download.
|Tom Brady coy about Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker at Best Buddies event||05.31.13 at 11:06 pm ET|
Count Tom Brady among those donating to The One Fund Boston.
The Patriots quarterback said Friday at Harvard Stadium that all proceeds from his Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port event this weekend will go to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
“One thing about our community here in Boston is the support that we get from all the athletes, all the people,” Brady said at the weekend-long charity event’s kickoff, the Tom Brady Football Challenge. “It’s a small town and it’s a special place to play.”
Brady touched on a variety of football-related topics but generally played it safe in his four-minute media session, including claiming he is out of the loop on Rob Gronkowski’s ongoing medical issues.
“I really don’t know,” he said of the tight end’s pending back surgery. “I haven’t inquired too much about what’s going on. That’s all the medical stuff that always sorts itself out.”
Brady said he has stayed in touch with Wes Welker, who signed with the Broncos in March after six seasons in New England, and understands Welker’s decision is part of the game.
“I always miss his friendship. He’s one of my best friends,” Brady said. “He’s on a great team. He’s moved and that’s part of the NFL and something I’ve been accustomed to over the years, losing some friends.”
He has enjoyed, however, working with a pair of his new receivers, Danny Amendola and second-round draft pick Aaron Dobson.
“[Amendola] comes in and he works really hard and he wants to do everything right. He’s very competitive. It’s been a lot of fun,” Brady said. “We’re definitely trying to get all those guys up to speed. When you haven’t really played with anybody for a significant time … there’s definitely a learning curve, and we’re going to try to work with that learning curve as much as we can. The practices have to be competitive.”
Best Buddies is a volunteer group founded by Anthony Shriver that creates opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A number of other Patriots — including Amendola, Vince Wilfork and Zoltan Mesko — and celebrity chef Guy Fieri were in attendance Friday.
“It’s a highlight of my year to see the buddies and their excitement over the game, and a little bit of competitiveness,” Brady said.
|Tom Brady on D&C: Feelings about Wes Welker’s departure ‘very personal to me’||05.23.13 at 8:00 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about the Patriots’ offseason moves as OTAs begin as well as promote next weekend’s Best Buddies charity event.
The biggest changes on the roster have come at wide receiver.
“There’s quite a few new guys on the roster, certainly at the receiver position, almost the entire group,” Brady said. “So, as many days of practice as we can get, as many opportunities that we can have to actually get out there and throw the ball together in a competitive environment, I think that’s where the improvement comes. We’ve only had two days of practice.
“It’s a very competitive position. I think there’s a lot of positions that are very competitive on our team. I’m excited to see — at this point, the work that we’ve put in, how well it’s paid off.”
The most heralded new receiver is former Ram Danny Amendola, who worked out with Brady in Los Angeles recently.
“Danny, he’s always had a lot of talent,” Brady said. “To watch him out there and play against him — when he was at the Rams he was very productive. It’s been fun to work with him. He’s got the tenacity to him and the drive and the determination and the work ethic. In a short period of time, it’s really easy to see. Like I said, he’s one of those guys where the more we throw, the better we’re going to be. So, we’re trying to always kind of talk and communicate through practice, through OTAs. We threw in the spring a lot, and hopefully as the summer continues leading up to training camp, we’ll get as many reps as we can together so we’re on the same page.”
Amendola has drawn comparisons to departed free agent Wes Welker.
“They’re [at] similar positions, they’re about the same height, they’ve both got very good ability,” Brady said. “Wes was so productive for so long. I think it’s unfair to compare anyone to Wes and what he was able to accomplish in his time here. Danny, he’s just been fun to work with. I think he’s come in really with an open mind and understanding of the way that we as Patriots, the way we need to play.
“Josh [McDaniels] is trying to get everyone on our entire offense up to speed with how we’re going to play offense this year, how we’re going to try to be more consistent than we’ve been the last few years. Danny’s really taken to that; all the receivers have. And all the receivers have really had, like I said, a willingness to come in and work and listen and try to get better.”
Asked his reaction to Welker’s departure, Brady said he understands the business of the league.
“I don’t think anything surprises me any more in the NFL,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough to see things happen at different times with the greatest players of all, whether that’s Wes, or Randy Moss being traded from the Raiders, or Brett Favre playing for the Jets and the Vikings. That’s what happens. Like I said, it’s a very tough, competitive business.
“Nobody appreciated Wes more than I did and what he was able to accomplish for our team. But he’s moved on. He’s in a good situation with another great team and a great quarterback. We’ve always kind of kept in touch, we always will. He’s one of my best friends. I certainly wish him the best.”
Brady has not publicly voiced any displeasure toward management about Welker’s departure, and he explained that there’s a reason for that.
“Of course I have feelings. But those feelings are very personal to me,” he said. “I used to get caught up in anger and frustration and disappointment. But I don’t make the decisions. These things aren’t up to me. At some point you’ve got to realize the things that are out of your control. You’ve just got to let go and focus on my job and what I need to do. Because the game moves on, the team moves on. There’s only so long you can dwell on the past. At some point you’ve got to move forward.
“Like I said, my job for my team is to be the best quarterback, and not the general manager and not the coach and not the owner. It’s to try to go out there and bring my own competitiveness to the field so that those guys that I’m playing with this year can really rely on me and count on me to be the best I can be.”
|Patriots go big at wide receiver this offseason||05.21.13 at 7:15 am ET|
This offseason, the Patriots lost wide receivers Wes Welker (5-foot-9, 185 pounds), Deion Branch (5-9, 195) and Brandon Lloyd (6-0, 200). They also lost Danny Woodhead (5-8, 200), who in 2012 became the first New England running back to finish with at 40 catches and 40 carries since Kevin Faulk turned the trick in 2008. In their place, the Patriots picked up several new faces, most of whom are considerably bigger guys than the ones who departed in the offseason.
Free agent signings
Mike Jenkins (6-4, 214)
Donald Jones (6-0, 208)
Danny Amendola (5-11, 188)
Lavelle Hawkins (5-11, 194)
Aaron Dobson (6-3, 210)
Josh Boyce (5-11, 206)
Rookie/undrafted free agents
Mark Harrison (6-3, 235)
TJ Moe (6-0, 200)
Kenbrell Thompkins (6-0, 196)
This is not to suggest that the Patriots have made a concerted effort to go bigger at the receiver position, but the differentiation in size is interesting contrast, especially if you go back and take a look at the receivers New England has built around over the last decade. Prior to the pickup of Jenkins, the only other 6-foot-4 receiver on the roster the last decade was Randy Moss, who spent three-plus seasons with the Patriots from 2007-2010. (Going back to 2002, Donald Hayes also stood 6-4. In addition, J.J. Stokes, who spent part of the 2003 season in New England, stood 6-4.) And at 6-3, Dobson and P.K. Sam are the two tallest receivers the Patriots have drafted since Bill Belichick took over the team prior to the 2000 season.
But this current group not only has size, but speed to go with it. Boyce, Harrison and Moe all popped favorably at the combine when it came to both speed and quickness (Moe and Boyce were both in the top five in the 3-cone drill for all players, while Boyce and Harrison were in the top 12 in the 40 for wide receivers). According to alert Tweeter Mike Loyko, all of the receivers the Patriots picked up with the exception of Jenkins ran sub 4.5 40s as part of the pre-draft process. It appears that finding a combination of size and speed — particularly on the perimeter — was a priority for New England this offseason.
(The acquisitions certainly would be in line with what one opposing scout told us when it came to offseason priorities for the Patriots in late January: “The Patriots need to add a vertical speed player with some size to the offense. … The Patriots do have fast wide receivers, but they are small, and require [Tom] Brady to be more accurate on his deeper throws. And because of their size, they aren’t consistent vertical threats. What they need is a wide receiver who is a vertical threat, but is also big enough to be physical in press coverage.”)
Read the rest of this entry »
- In the Mind of Destruction
- Patriots vs. Browns Final Score: Gronkowski Injured in Dramatic 27-26...
- Halftime: Patriots Struggle Again in 1st Half, Trail Browns 6-0
- Week 14 Game Thread: Patriots vs. Browns
- Patriots vs. Browns: Thompkins, Hoomanawanui Both Inactive
- Belichick on Ridley, Faulk, and Ozzie Newsome
- The Best Around