Wes Welker still wants to play, says Pats reunion not 'worst situation'

ByMike Reiss ESPN logo
Tuesday, June 2, 2015

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Free-agent wide receiver Wes Welker hopes to play in 2015 and said Tuesday he would be open to a return to the New England Patriots despite a messy divorce after the 2012 season.

"I wouldn't be opposed to it. It's a great organization, obviously, and a great team. It wouldn't be the worst situation in the world," Welker said on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, appearing as part of promotional work for his hair doctor.

Later, on Boston-based sports radio WEEI, Welker added of the Patriots: "I've never ruled that out ... I don't think there are any hard feelings there."

While there may not be hard feelings, the Patriots don't appear to have immediate mutual interest in Welker, as every receiver is returning from last season's Super Bowl-winning team, a group led by Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. It would likely take an injury to another player for the Patriots to consider Welker.

If that did happen, it would mark the second time this offseason the Patriots reconciled with a player who left after some public fireworks, as linebacker Brandon Spikes returned on a one-year contract last month.

The Patriots had hoped to re-sign Welker after the 2012 season but lost out to the Denver Broncos. Owner Robert Kraft, in an uncharacteristic move, publicly blasted Welker's agent. In turn, Welker's agents fired back.

As for where things stand now for the 34-year-old Welker, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2004 and whose recent history with concussions might be scaring off some teams, he explained his mindset.

"Obviously I want to play. The more I'm away from it, the more I want to go out there and be on a team and everything else," Welker said on The Sports Hub. "Once June really gets going here, and in July I'll be hitting it really hard, knowing that I'm going to be ready and there will be an opportunity at some point."

Asked what he'd say to teams concerned about his concussions, Welker said he "pretty much went through all of last season without a concussion."

When the topic of retirement was broached, Welker said the main reason he thought of it was because people were mentioning it to him.

"At times you're sitting there and like, 'Maybe I just should,'" he said. "But the more you think about it, the more you're away from it, I'm just like, 'I'm not ready to.' I still feel good. I still feel like I have some really good football left in me. I've always said 'until the wheels fall off,' and maybe this year the teams sit there and say, 'Hey, we think you're done.' Then I could probably be at peace with that a little more than just going out on my own terms."

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