NFL and particularly New England Patriots‘ fans know the Wes Welker story by now. He took a risk not holding out for regular season games in 2012 out of good faith. Then, instead of being rewarded for doing the team a favor, they benched him for the early part of that season until Julian Edelman got hurt. That was also the year that Welker decided to challenge Bill Belichick, saying after a game early that season, “It’s kind of nice to stick it in Bill’s face every once in a while.”
Fast forward to 2013 and Welker is now a member of the Denver Broncos. The Patriots decided then that he was not worthy of the two-year, $12 million contract he was given by Denver. Maybe it was the money itself, maybe it was the way he was treated at the end of his tenure in Foxboro, or perhaps it was Belichick and/or Robert Kraft‘s ego that sent him out of town. It may have even been Welker’s age.
Whatever the reason, the team let him go and replaced him with a player far less dependable and injury prone in Danny Amendola. With all of that said, Welker has proven to be worth every penny and more for the Broncos so far this season. He has 61 catches for 648 yards and has already matched his career high in touchdown receptions with nine in only nine games.
As for why he will play this week, Welker is as tough a player as there is in the league. He has played through numerous injuries throughout his playing career, including several concussions. This game is just as important for the Broncos as it is for the Patriots as the winner may very well become the number one seed in the AFC. He will want to be present to help his team win with the winner having a very good chance of receiving a first round bye in the playoffs.
Perhaps more importantly, Welker is likely chomping at the bit to play against the Patriots for his own selfish reasons. He remembers how he was treated at the end of his time there and specifically how he was not wanted by the team. Players like that always have a chip on their shoulder. For example, the Tom Brady draft story comes to mind.
Welker will go all out this week to embarrass his old team, thereby showing them that they made a big mistake and he was worth a big investment. Wes will not want to miss an opportunity this week to “stick it in Bill’s face” as he himself has stated so eloquently.