New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker heard the whispers in the offseason. And after catching only three passes for 14 yards in the first game, the whispers were getting louder.
Welker was being phased out of the offense.
But look at the past three weeks: 5 catches for 95 yards against Arizona, 8 catches for 142 yards against Baltimore and 9 catches for 129 yards against Buffalo.
Doesn't look like he's being phased out, does it?
"It's my job to go up there every day and try to be the best player I can be," said the 31-year-old Welker, who wanted a long-term deal but signed a $9.5 million franchise-tag tender offer in May. "I'm doing everything possible. Everything right now is good. I love playing here and I'm looking forward to a great season."
So Welker will do what he does: perform well on the field and help various charities off the field.
Today, he is promoting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of Welker's partners, Dick's Sporting Goods, launched its “Sport Your Support” campaign. Throughout October, Dick's Sporting Goods will feature a variety of pink items at stores and online. Dick's has also donated $250,000 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
"I think the older you get the more you realize how important life is, the more you think about your family," said Welker, who joined the Patriots in 2007. "I couldn't imagine this disease happening to your mom or your wife. It puts things in perspective. We need to make things happen to try to fight this disease."
Fans also will have the opportunity to "Sport Their Support" by participating in Dick’s Sporting Goods’ "Endless Ribbon" Facebook initiative. From now through the end of the month, fans can add a pink ribbon to their profile picture and dedicate it to a loved one or include it as an expression of hope.
Welker said he'd love to finish his career with the Patriots and live there in Boston after his playing days, but he's not sure that he can convince his wife.
"As much as I'd like to, I don't think I could talk my wife into staying in the cold weather year after year," Welker said. "I can't say Boston is 'home-home.' It's definitely a place I'm growing accustomed to. It's such a great sports town. I really am enjoying myself here."