Welker: Leaving Tom Brady 'hardest part'

Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker stepped to the podium Thursday for his introductory news conference with the Denver Broncos. It was the culmination of Welker surprisingly leaving the New England Patriots for one of their biggest competitors in the AFC.

Welker was complimentary of the Patriots' organization and thanked New England "for the six years there and all the trust and everything they put in me." But Welker shared his most candid thoughts on his good friend and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

"That was definitely the hardest part, was leaving Tom," Welker said. "He's a great competitor, a great player, a great friend across the board. So I wish the best to him."

Brady has not spoken publicly since Welker left for Denver. But you have to assume New England's leader is upset behind the scenes. Brady signed a three-year extension this offseason to provide the Patriots extra cap room, in part, to bring Welker back. New England still low-balled Welker and reportedly offered just $10 million over two years. He signed with Denver this week for two years and $12 million.

Welker dodged the question about whether he felt undervalued by the Patriots.

"I think that's all relative," Welker said. “I’m a Denver Bronco now and I’m excited about it. I’m not looking to the past now. I’m just looking forward.”

Welker joins an explosive offense that already includes quarterback Peyton Manning and receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. Welker has a proven track record of production and there is no reason to think he won't be successful with Manning in Denver.

The Patriots, meanwhile, will move on with a young but unproven Danny Amendola, who has big shoes to fill in New England.