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Before Vincent Jackson, there was Welker
What made him special?
I may never forgive Marty Schottenheimer for this one.
When Welker was a Charger, his incredible quickness and change of direction ability made him a fan favorite prior to the 2004 season. He was one of those players that fans just knew was special.
I really feel like Schottenheimer's decision to cut Wes Welker really got underneath GM AJ Smith's skin the same way it got under mine.
Why was he underrated?
Shottenheimer favored huge receivers like Vincent Jackson to a fault. Not only did Schottenheimer cut Wes Welker after the season opener, he also ordered the dependable Keenan McCardell to the bench in favor of young Jackson with disastrous (playoff) results.
Welker was not given a fair shot in San Diego under the old school Schottenheimer due to his lack of size.
What could he have done to raise his visibility?
Had Welker not fumbled on a punt return against the Houston Texans in his first game, he may not have given Schottenheimer the excuse he needed to get rid of him.
What's the bottom line?
Smith, the fans and initially Schottenheimer were right. Wes Welker turned out to be a special player with rare ability. Welker was so angered after being cut and chose to leave the Chargers rather than sign with the practice squad.
Good move, Wes. It is highly doubtful that Welker would have had the tremendous career he has had thus far had he stayed with the Bolts.
The Chargers were joined in their folly by the Miami Dolphins who completely whiffed by trading Welker to the rival Patriots, helping to create an offensive juggernaut that frustrated the entire league in 2007—namely the Chargers.
Years with the Chargers: One game after an electrifying preseason, 2004
Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 190 pounds
Career stats: 528 receptions for 5657 yards and 23 touchdowns, 13 rushing attempts for 101 yards