Mr. Welker, we (apparently) hardly knew you.
That’s not totally true, of course. We all knew you were a little, shall we say, sensitive when you started crying on the sidelines after tearing your ACL back in 2010. It was an endearing moment, to be sure. We all knew you’d be missing the playoffs and you were always the Patriots little engine-that-could and it was a bummer Bernard Pollard had to go and give you the Brady treatment like that.
However, when the Sports Illustrated story surfaced this week, the one where you tell reporter Chris Ballard that, “It was just kind of hard, 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,” we all were kind of scratching our heads. Like…what?
The “him” in question is, of course, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. You know, the guy who strikes fear in the hearts of players just by looking at them sideways. That guy.
Story goes you were called out by ol’ Billy in front of the team last season and you didn’t like it very much. Then you weren’t playing a whole lot at the start of last year and you weren’t too happy about that either. But then Aaron Hernandez got hurt and you skipped right back into the starting set and all seemed right in the world of Welker. Too bad you didn’t stick around. I hear Hernandez is going to be on ice for a realllllly long time.
But I disgress. Back to my original point of you being a Sensitive Sally.
Is that really why you left New England? Your ego couldn’t take being called out by the best coach in the history of the game? You couldn’t handle a leader who doesn’t want to hug it out Ari Gold style every time you make a good play? Just couldn’t deal with the tough love that has taken Belichick and his team to five AFC Championship games and four Super Bowls since 2001?
No? NO? You want to go hang out with Pouty Face Manning and pose awkwardly on the cover of national magazines and say insipid things like, “when I’m answering questions from the Denver media, I’m not worried about what the Broncos’ people are going to think. I’m worried about what Belichick will think. Isn’t that crazy?”
YES. Yes it is. But the good news is I’m sure he’s thrilled by this SI story. What coach doesn’t love seeing a former player drag his name through the mud because he’s tough to play for? Which, by the by, is something Belichick himself has admitted in the past? He knows it’s not easy being a Patriot. Guess what though? THE PATRIOTS WIN. They win a lot. It was your pal Tom Brady who once said he doesn’t want a coach who’s going to hug him; he wants a coach who’s going to coach him.
So what exactly is the problem?
I mean that in a nice way. You’re a great player. A Patriots Hall of Famer for sure. Maybe even a Canton one (if you hadn’t dropped that pass in the Super Bowl you’d be a lot closer). But considering the Patriots offered you a comparable contract to the Broncos and that Robert Kraft publicly said you were “like a son to him,” why even go there and step into the media fray on the issue? Especially when you’re the one who comes out of this looking the fool?
Everyone knows Belichick’s a hard ass. It’s why he’s so good. You want to go play for the Rex Ryan’s of the world, who draft guys like Mark Sanchez to throw you the ball but will buy you McDonald’s before practice for “team bonding?” John Fox isn’t exactly Sexy Rexy, but he did once coach the most god-awful Carolina Panthers team ever and lost to Belichick in the Super Bowl so it’s still at the very least a downgrade.
If you weren’t already in your 30s, and therefore closer to the end than the beginning of your career, I’d advise growing a thicker skin and manning up a tad. But instead, you jetted off to Manning Land. And we wish you the best in that endeavor.
See you in the playoffs, Welker. Try not to let too many tears flow when the Patriots beat you.