ESPN – NFL Network announced its lineup for the popular “A Football Life” series in 2017, and the name that jumps off the page from a Patriots perspective is receiver Wes Welker. His story is scheduled to air Oct. 6. When the Patriots traded for him in 2007, giving up a second- and seventh-round pick, the initial reaction of some was that it was a lot to give up for a slot receiver. All Welker did was go on to catch 672 passes for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns from 2007 to 2012.
As a Patriots fan I am JACKED UP, but even as a casual football fan you have got to be excited for this. One of the best stories of the past decade in the NFL. An undrafted free agent in 2004 that played sparingly for the Chargers and Dolphins before landing with the Patriots. He also has the most receptions by any undrafted player in NFL history.
I think because of how great Julian Edelman has been and how much success the Patriots have had post-Welker (2 Super Bowl titles) people forget just how great Welker was for the Pats. He led the league in catches in 2007, 2009 and 2011. He’s also the Patriots all-time leader in receptions. The guy came out of nowhere in another example of a classic Bill Belichick diamond in the rough, highway robbery trade.
Basically a special teams player for most of his career, Belichick picked up Wes Welker before the 2007 season for a 2nd and 7th round draft pick. And let me tell you, I was fucking fired up for that trade. Belichick is notorious for trading for guys that roast him head to head. Wes Welker did that in spades. In Week 5 of 2006 as a little known receiver for the Dolphins, Welker had 9 catches for 77 yards against the Pats. Nothing thats going to have a plaque in Canton, but he also returned 4 kickoffs (25 yards avg per return) and also fielded 2 punts (avg 9 yards per return). This guy could do it all, which as we all know Belichick lives for guys like that. It was the same with Troy Brown and then later on with Edelman (who even played cornerback). So Bill plucked the guy out of Miami and all he did was catch 672 balls for 7,459 yards with 37 TD from 2007 to 2012. Not to mention 112 catches for 1,100+ yards and 8 TDs in his first year with the Pats in 07 as part of the greatest offense the NFL has ever seen.
So get excited for another great A Football Life and pull your 83 jerseys out.
PS – If you still blame Welker for that “drop” in the second Giants Super Bowl you’re an asshole. I love Tom Brady, but that was an overthrown ball. And yes, having two more SB wins since then (5 total if you’re counting) helps make that clear analysis easier.