Wes is definitely more.
Wes Welker is one of a kind, as a person and as a ballplayer. He’s a modern wonder and a marvel.
As Shakespeare once said, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
Here are six:
1) Look at the guy and marvel
In a game that was built for large, strong, fast men, Wes Welker is 5’9”, and about 185 pounds. He looks more like the high school team manager than an All Star. Just put a suit and a pair of glasses on him, and imagine him as the guy who keeps the team’s books more than one who puts his name in their record books.
His pre-draft 40-yard speed at Texas Tech was 4.61.
That’s pretty good for someone you picked for a game of flag football, but less than stellar when you realize that Jerod Mayo, at 6’1” and 250, runs the 40 in 4.53 and Darrelle Revis, who (when healthy) sometimes covers him, runs a 4.38.
People rarely ask if Wes has lost a step, because he never really had one in the first place.
2) Ask yourself how does he do it, and marvel at his smarts
Not the kind of smarts that the Wonderlic test measures, but smarts when it comes to how to read coverage, how to adjust, how to be patient sometimes and quick at others and when to break off a route when the blitz is coming. Smarts means not only knowing his playbook, but knowing his quarterback and the guy who is covering him.
There are 50 marvels of nature, guys with athleticism off the charts for every Wes Welker, but he succeeds because he knows how to take the fullest advantage of the gifts that he was given.
3) Marvel that this is one complex dude
Football players usually come in two personality types. There are the guys who love the spotlight, who are loose cannons likely to say anything at any time, who can be selfish and moody if they don’t get plays called for them—you know, like Terrell Owens.
Then there’s the type of guy that the Patriots look for, the guys who, by disposition or training, learn the art of being Bill.
They will tell us that they never look beyond the next game, that all the credit goes to their teammatesand when asked for an opinion about strategy, tell us that we’d better ask Coach. They certainly don’t crack jokes about their own Coach or any others, especially coaches in New York who are known to be footloose.
Then there’s Wes, as serious about the game as he is crazy off the field. On the field, his eyes are focused and narrow.
Off the field, there’s a twinkle in those same eyes that tells us that something interesting is about to happen.
4) Marvel that this guy is doing okay away from the game
Tom Terrific may have the beautiful Gisele to cuddle with when he comes home from a tough day at the office, but Wes just got married this past June to long-time girlfriend Anna Burns.
Anna may not be a fashion model of international repute, but she happens to be the former Miss Hooters International of 2005.
5) Marvel that the guy is multi-talented
However much we like Stephen Gostkowski, we know that the longest field goal he has made in the NFL is 53 yards. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had someone on our team who could nail one from even farther?
Wait no longer.
Wesley Carter Welker, still in his teens, hit 35 field goals while playing for Heritage Hall High in Oklahoma City.
The longest just happened to be from 58 yards.
6) Marvel that the guy takes responsibility
In last year’s Super Bowl, Tom Brady spotted a wide open Wes Welker, and all he had to do was loft the pass out there. Brady threw it high and well behind Wes, who tried to make a tough leaping catch but couldn’t come down with it.
When the game was over Wes stepped up and told the press that he had let the team down, that he should have caught the pass.
It became known as “the drop.”
Another guy would have quietly pointed out that a QB as good as Brady is supposed to put it on the numbers, or pointed to all the plays he made to get the team to the Super Bowl or would have just kept quiet.
Welker stepped forward, told the world that he had messed up and took all the heat off his quarterback’s shoulders. Brady told the world that he still trusted his wide receiver, but he never had to take the heat for the incompletion.
Wes had already done that.
So I’m a Wes Welker fan. I actually like Julian Edelman, who might be a decent imitation, but I love Wes Welker, who is an original in every sense of the word. And if I may, let me offer some unsolicited advice to the revered Mr. Belichick and Mr. Kraft:
Could you please, please do something to keep the esteemed Mr. Welker, his catches and his antics around here for a long time?