New England Patriots Send Message with Wes Welker's Shocking Demotion

Richard LangfordCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 9:   Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots watches from the sidelines during a preseason game against the Orleans Saints in the first half at Gillette Stadium on August 9, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Prolific wide receiver Wes Welker has been shown his way to the New England Patriots' bench in favor of Julian Edelman. 

The NFL Network's Albert Breer passed along the news.

Julian Edelman gets the start in place of Wes Welker.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 16, 2012

This is a shocking turn of events prior to just Week 2 of this football season. Welker is coming off of a 122-catch, 1,500-plus yard season, and he was just benched for a college quarterback who spent most of his second season playing defensive back. 

This was not just a token move either—Edelman is getting more playing time. ESPN's Mike Reiss shared this stat from the first quarter of the Patriots' contest with the Arizona Cardinals. 

First quarter snaps: Julian Edelman 14, Wes Welker 9. Edelman playing over Welker in 2 WR sets.

— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 16, 2012

It's pretty clear this is Bill Belichick and the Patriots showing Welker that they are not desperate for his services, and that they are not happy with Welker's professed offseason unhappiness with his contract