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Wes Welker and the big, old, meany football coach

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  August 8, 2013 10:27 AM

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Petulant brat or spurned lover?

Maybe it’s a little bit of both traits that have former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker spouting off in this week’s Sports Illustrated about the way things ended in New England. I mean, a tough football coach? Please call in the Better Business Bureau, social services, and Sean Maguire (It’s not your fault, Wes.) to rectify this situation immediately.

Nick Saban must have run a country club during Welker’s two years with the Miami Dolphins, which, in reality is probably the case since the coach has his eyes on the next, big paycheck the second he signed his contract. What He Worry? But Welker, now with the Denver Broncos, sounds like a guy who has Patriots head coach Bill Belichick firmly ensconced in his head and crawling beneath his skin.

“It was just kind of hard,” Welker said. “One of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him . . . But he does it to everybody, it’s the way he is.”

Egads, a “hard” football coach. Next, Welker is going to tell us that the locker room is carpeted. Maybe the wide receiver went canine crazy from the shrill when the mean, old coach blew his whistle too.

“When I’m answering questions from the Denver media, I’m not worried about what the Broncos’ people are going to think,” Welker said “I’m worried about what Belichick will think. Isn’t that crazy?”


Look, when people leave a place they’ve been accustomed to call their home, for one reason or another, it always stings when the reason why you were forced out can be attributed to a certain person or a way of thinking that you could no longer jive with. Heck, Greg Jennings won’t shut up about Green Bay to the point where Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier felt the need to tell his new wide receiver to cool his lip jets. In Welker’s case, Denver presents him an opportunity to actually open up and show his personality, a trait that the Patriots cringed over whenever it decided to leak out of the drone the franchise preferred that he’d be in front of the camera.

Welker is an engaging guy, one whose wit was on full display with his “foot” press conference, which resulted with his coach benching him at the start of a playoff game. The more time that passes since that incident, the more juvenile it looks. That sort of punishment is high school-worthy. At the professional level, it’s little more than a petty way to prove who owns whom.

Welker’s comments capped what has already been a pretty amusing week following the Patriots beat writers on Twitter, where each seems intent on beating the crowds to report about “circus” catches made by the likes of Aaron Dobson and Zach Sudfeld and how Tom Brady was “carving apart” the defense of the Philadelphia Eagles, with whom the Patriots are participating in a joint practice this week.

Oh, wait…practice?

The way some reporters are breathlessly relaying the athleticism of New England’s receivers is one part the true boredom of covering training camp daily, and one part embarrassing suckup for the product they cover. It’s a lot easier when the story line boasts how the team won’t miss Welker when they have…well, these guys.

Can we all just calm down? At least until the first game of the preseason? Good grief, you’d half expect Roger Goodell to be putting a shine on Lombardi just so he can tote it to Foxborough before the Patriots have to endure the burden of the regular season like everybody else.

Welker is gone, to the 180 degree delight of many Pats fans, who kicked him out the door this offseason with memories of his dropped pass in the AFC title game, and the infamous, overthrown ball in the Super Bowl for which Brady, to this day, gets little to no criticism. Welker left the goat while the quarterback, who is only 7-7 in his last 14 playoff games with 28 touchdowns and 19 interceptions, is just assumed to be handed a fresh corps of wide receivers and able to master the way with them. The overwhelming analysis in this particular situation has boiled down to “He’s Tom Brady,” which is about as insightful as telling me 7 comes after 6.

It’s OK to admit that Brady is going to miss Welker, and we don’t really know if Danny Amendola (dropped catch in practice the other day, by the way) can stay healthy, or be productive in this offense. Jason London looks like Jeremy London too. Only one gets to be Randall “Pink” Floyd while the other toils on “Seventh Heaven.”

Belichick is the almighty, and has drilled his prophecy into hundreds of players over the years, many of whom have gone on to preach the message in their own right. Welker is a different breed, a seemingly sensitive soul in a world where personal feelings fit about as well as Stride Rites on a moose. It’s not personal, of course, but business.

The fact that Welker feels there should be some semblance of the former is refreshing. Clueless, but refreshing.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.


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