It’s all in good fun, but lost in the Manning vs. Brady drama and storyline is the fact that Wes Welker is coming back to New England, and he’s not wishing well on his former teammates.
If you have good friends, or a really close friend or two, you can imagine being a little bit competitive. But say for a moment that you get to compete on the same team as one of your best friends. In fact, how about a friend that you would call a life-long friend? You get to be on the same team, and you can choose to stay on the same team, but money becomes part of the issue.
Well, that’s the exact situation that went down this past summer with Wes Welker and the Patriots. He left New England for a few million more dollars than he got in Denver, and decided he would play the next two years of his career as a member of the Broncos.
When it came down to it, the bond between Brady and Welker was simply not enough to keep them together as Patriots, and now Welker is heading back to New England to try and beat his old pal Tom.
“I stay in contact with Tom, not this week, this week we’re enemies,’’ Welker said. “Nah, we’re close, I wish the best for him, just not this week.’’
Side note: When Welker talks, does he remind anyone else of Toby Maguire in Spiderman?
Anyway, back to the story here. Welker knows that no matter his connections to this team, no matter the name he made for himself as a member of the Patriots, a new chapter has opened in his life, in his football career.
“[I’m] definitely excited, big game, big matchup, great environment,’’ Welker said. “ … I love playing the game, especially in big atmospheres like this. I’m doing everything possible on my end to get an opportunity to play in it.’’
Welker is speaking here of course about his following league mandated concussion protocol, but if the week progresses as it has been for him, there’s no doubt about it that he will be playing when the Broncos trot out onto the field Sunday night.
In recent years, the Patriots have absolutely killed the Broncos. In 2012, the last loss the Broncos suffered in the regular season was a week five trip to New England where Denver turned it over so many times I actually lost count. The Broncos were able to come back and make a game out of it, but they gave the ball to Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez.
The biggest difference in this game? One of those guys is in Denver, one of those guys is hurt, and the other one is incarcerated. Sure, the Patriots will always be the Patriots as long as #12 is behind center, but Brady has missed having his full arsenal of weapons, as you could imagine.
Aside from Welker bringing his slot magic to Denver, I think missing Aaron Hernandez has been particularly troublesome for the Pats, but we’ll get into that in another post.
The Broncos played the strategy “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” when they added Welker to the fray, and after some recent matchups with New England, you can only hope that he makes that much of a difference for Denver.