It comes together in end for Weaver
FOXBOROUGH -- The words "All's well that ends well" are generally linked to William Shakespeare. The phrase also could sum up the regular season for New England's Jed Weaver.
The journey ended much better than it began for the tight end, who came up with four catches for 62 yards in the Patriots' 21-7 victory over San Francisco at Gillette Stadium yesterday.
He believed he would be starting for Denver but was cut by the Broncos days before the opener.
Weaver thought he made a breakthrough during the 2003 season. The six-year veteran had his most productive campaign, coincidentally, for yesterday's opponent. He started 15 games and had 35 catches.
The production landed him a three-year contract with the Broncos.
He figured it was set so he used some of his signing bonus to purchase a new house in Denver, which is always the kiss of death.
"We bought it in May and we worked on it through training camp," said Weaver. "We did all the landscaping and got it the way we wanted it. It has a nice fireplace. It was awesome. It was a great place.
"Of course, just as soon as we got all the furniture in the house and had everything set up the way we wanted, we were out of there and now we have everything in storage and are living in a studio place out here," said Weaver.
The news came at a particularly bad time.
"It was basically too late to catch on with another team," said Weaver. "If I was cut the week before, I would have had the opportunity to spend time with another club at training camp and maybe play that last preseason game."
That's not an ideal situation, either. Nor is it a way to make friends on a new team.
"You know they have to cut somebody to make room for you," said Weaver. "Yes, it was stressful. After starting a whole season for San Francisco and playing well, I figured I would get the opportunity to play somewhere."
He might still be working on his home in Denver if Ben Watson did not get hurt. Watson was put on injured reserve Sept. 29, the day New England signed Weaver.
It was a trying four weeks between being cut by the Broncos and signing with the Patriots. "I hung around the house and worked out," said Weaver.
Weaver was first called after the Patriots' opener against Indianapolis. He worked out for the team the following Tuesday. "If they don't sign you on a Tuesday, they won't sign anybody until the next week because they are game-planning," said Weaver, who returned to Colorado, hoping for a call from someone.
The call finally came Sept. 29.
"The Patriots called me around 10:30, before noon, and asked me if I wanted to come here and I said sure. I got on a plane and arrived here at midnight. I spent all of the night trying to go through the playbook and take in as much as I could."
He was inactive for the game at Buffalo Oct. 3. He suited up, but did not play, Oct. 10 against the Dolphins, one of his former teams.
The rest of his time here has been part-time duty. He saw his first action against the Jets Oct. 24. He made his first catch, a 10-yarder, in the first quarter at Buffalo Nov. 14 and caught another pass Dec. 5 at Cleveland. His best game before yesterday was a two-catch performance against Cincinnati.
However, he has been around long enough to know he has to be ready.
"I just think it's the mind-set," said Weaver. "You have to keep focused and prepare yourself. I've been a backup for most of my career so I've always prepared like I'm one injury away from being a starter and playing all the time. It's happened a few times to me where you go out there and figure you might be in for a few snaps and then the starter gets hurt and you have to play the whole game."
In addition, Weaver said playing as much yesterday makes him feel more prepared for the postseason.
"It was nice to get in there and be on the same page with the quarterback," said Weaver. "Going in and out, you just try to do what they ask and step up. The way Tom [Brady] calls the snaps, changing plays in certain situations, you're able to figure out more what's going on when you're out there. You just want to be hitting with everybody else."
Weaver knows what to expect next.
"Everything steps up in the playoffs," he said. "The game is two steps faster and the closer you get to the big game, it gets even faster. So this was good."
He enjoyed playing against his old teammates, too.
"They all told me congratulations and go get the ring. It has been a rough year for them, but they're happy for me."
With a week off, he'll have more time to deal with his home in Denver. "My fiancee has been back and forth to Denver several times. But she's a warrior and she's dealt with everything. If it wasn't for her, all my stuff would be in Denver and I'd be living in a hotel," Weaver said. "We've made the transition and everything is great. But if you know of anyone wanting to buy a house in Denver, it's still on the market."