Wes Welker's Not-So-Shocking Return

Joe GillCorrespondent IIJune 8, 2010

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 20: Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots looks on against the Buffalo Bills during the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Wes Welker is back doing what he loves to do. He is playing football for the New England Patriots. It may just be non-contact OTA’s, but look how far he has come since that dreadful January day in Houston.

Welker was making a routine cut against the Texans but his knee didn’t react in the routine way. He tore his ACL, though initially it was thought he tore his MCL as well. He knew his season was over as he sobbed on the bench into a towel. 

Little did we know the Patriots’ season was technically over that day as well. Without Welker, the Patriots struggled mightily on offense as they got pasted by Baltimore in the Wild Card round at home.

What would life be without Welker?

Odds were that he may have suffered a Brady-like injury and may miss at least half of the 2011 season. Which raised the question, who would replace Wes Welker?

Would Julien Edelman become the heir apparent?

People were talking like Welker may never play again, but haven’t we learned anything about his determination and pure will to compete?

He went undrafted out of Texas Tech. He was cut by the Chargers before signing with Miami. Welker excelled at special teams and wide receiver to earn a starting spot with the Dolphins.

He became such a thorn in the Patriots’ side that they traded for him in 2007. All he did in 2007 was shatter Troy Brown’s franchise record of 101 catches with 112. Then in 2008, without Tom Brady, he caught 111 balls to post his second straight 1,000 yard season.

There is no way he could keep this pace up, right?

By being the slot receiver, he was always in the defender's cross hairs and sometimes they caught him. And made him pay. But he got back up and threw up his arms to energize the crowd.

Basically saying “Bring It On!” with Tom Brady back at the helm, he caught an eye-popping 123 balls in just 14 games before his season-ending knee injury.

All of New England gasped when he went down in a meaningless game in Texas. Fans were angry and upset that Welker was injured in a game that meant nothing.

But Wes never felt bad for himself. It probably had the polar opposite effect—he took nothing for granted.


His career.

His success.


Sometimes pure will and determination to achieve a goal outweighs what doctors and medical professionals believe is the norm.

Because for a guy like Wes Welker, nothing is the norm. Who would have thought he would be the only player in NFL history to have three straight seasons with at least 110 receptions?


Nope, that’s just Wes Welker.


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