Wes Welker is ready to move on from the Super Bowl XLVI loss to the New York Giants, and so are the New England Patriots, but their star wideout would like a new deal in place before camp is set to begin. Welker, who has yet to sign his franchise tender with the Pats, is seeking a long-term contract. No.83 doesn’t sound quite so vicious in the following interview, but he means business in terms of wanting to be taken care of. There appears to be mutual respect on both sides of this contract negotiation. In a world where many star athletes would rather sit out than not get paid what they deserve, No.83 understands his team’s side of the argument. Wes Welker joined WEEI in Boston with Mut and Merloni to discuss the status of his franchise tender being offered by the Patriots, having conversations with the Patriots about his contract since the NFL draft, the feeling that he has earned a new contract with the Patriots, his relationship with Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft, Tom Brady possibly playing 10 more years after his comments to Peter King in Monday Morning Quarterback and missing regular season games due to his contract negotiation.
What is the current status of your contract with the franchise tender being offered? Any thoughts of making camp in June?
“We’re still kind of waiting, but I’d really like to be there. I don’t know. To say I’m going one way or another right now, I’m not going to say definite or anything like that. But I would definitely like to be at those mini-camps for sure.”
Has there been any kind of conversations at all with the Patriots since the draft?
“I think we are all on the same page. We’re all trying to collectively come together and make something happen. I think everybody just seems to know we’re all on the same page and we’re trying to work towards something.”
Do you feel you earned the new contract you are looking for from the organization?
“I think anybody that plays for any organization that has done a good job over the years wants to be rewarded for it. I think I’m no different from any other guy that’s in the league. The main thing is just trying to keep a level head about it and make sure you’re making the best decisions for yourself, but at the same time put yourself in a position where you can play for a great team and hopefully do some great things in the future.”
How is the relationship with the Patriots right now when you’re looking for a new contract and you want to be out on the field?
“We’re just kind of moving along. I have a great relationship with coach [Bill Belichick] and Mr. Kraft and with the front office and everybody else. I don’t think there’s any sort of hard feelings on my side or their side. I think we’re all looking forward to the 2012 season and hopefully do some big things there. I think that’s going to start off with the camp we are having this weekend with ages 7-13 here in Boston and really looking forward to that and being out there with those kids.”
On Tom Brady saying he’d like to play 10 more years according to a story written by Peter King of SI?
“There’s no doubt in my mind. There’s no doubt. Tom, in every decision he makes, in everything he does — from what he eats to what he drinks to what his traveling schedule is — everything is centered around football. Everything. It’s almost sickening. It’s almost like an illness that he has or something. Every decision he makes is literally towards being a better football player. I commend him on it. It’s hard. It’s not easy to eat the way he does, to train the way he does and do the things he needs to do to be better. Especially in the position he’s in, he doesn’t have to. But he loves it. That’s what he strives for and what he loves. And it shows in the way he carries himself.”
Would you hold out and miss a regular-season game because of your contract?
“No, not at all. Not at all. There’s 9 1/2 million reasons why I wouldn’t miss any regular-season game. So, I don’t have to worry about that.”