Receiver Wes Welker really wanted to stay with the Patriots. Now that he’s gone from New England, Welker realizes there’s a certain benefit to not serving under Bill Belichick.
Welker now can say what he wants without repercussion.
“I feel like I can be myself a little more for sure,” Welker told Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports regarding Welker’s ability to speak without measuring every word.
In fact, Welker says that the Broncos have given him no instructions about what he can and can’t say. “Here? No. . . . All they told me was, ‘Just be yourself,'” Welker told Silver.
Welker was once benched for the first drive of a playoff game against the Jets after repeatedly defying Belichick’s (reasonable) command to refrain from poking fun at the still-fresh foot-fetish topic involving Jets coach Rex Ryan. Welker admits he was wrong to do that.
For now, the most inflammatory thing Welker will say is the obvious one — that he’ll derive motivation from the notion that his success since 2007 was a product of the Patriots’ system.
“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. “So whatever it is, then yeah, I’ll definitely pull from wherever I can.”
But Welker has come to terms with his departure, even though he initially was upset. Welker says quarterback Tom Brady was, too. Something Brady would never say publicly.
“He was upset about it, and part of me was a little upset about it too,” Welker said. “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.”
Welker’s new teammates and coaches are happy about it, raving about his skills and work ethic.
“Oh man, he’s phenomenal,” safety Rahim Moore said. “He’s everywhere. I like him cause he doesn’t say much on the field. He says, ‘Just trying to stay on top.'”
Head coach John Fox was more pragmatic. “He’s been a very welcome addition to both sides of the ball,” Fox said. “Our offense gets to use him, and our defense doesn’t have to cover him anymore.”
Moving forward, Belichick no longer has to worry about that Welker says. Unlike Fox, Belichick now has to worry about what Welker does.