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Wes Welker: Can't worry about potential long-term health ramifications from concussions

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Having once referred to himself as the "poster child" for concussions in the NFL, retired wide receiver Wes Welker said Wednesday that he wouldn't change much about his career and doesn't spend time worrying about potential long-term health ramifications.

Welker sustained at least six media-documented concussions as an NFL player, which includes a stretch in which he had three concussions in nine months starting in the 2013 season.

"I can't sit here and worry about it; I don't want to live my life that way," Welker told ESPN during a promotional blitz with Massachusetts-based Leonard Hair Transplant Associates. "Is there a possibility [of long-term implications]? Maybe, I don't know. We'll have to see how everything kind of happens, I guess.

"I'm going to try to do everything I can to put myself in a position where I'm healthy and hopefully good. If I'm good, then great. At the same time, I'm not going to live my life worrying if my brain is going to explode at any second."

Welker, 36, had the most productive stretch of his career with the New England Patriots from 2007 to '12, when he caught 672 passes for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns. Part of what made him a fan favorite was his fearlessness going across the middle and his willingness to absorb big hits despite his diminutive 5-foot-9, 185-pound frame.

"I don't know if I'd really change much -- who I am or how I went about my business -- because a lot of that aggressiveness and the reason [for success] was because of the way I played," he said. "When I felt like I wasn't playing that way, I wasn't playing to my best ability."

At the same time, Welker might have altered a few things along the way.

"Do I wish, looking back, [that I] would have gone out of bounds or gotten down, earlier in my career especially? There's always a warrior mentality, but trying to be smart about some of those things; I mean, yeah, I probably would have," he acknowledged. "When you don't have any concussions and you're just kind of going out there recklessly, you're 20-something years old, you don't think about it. You just go play."

Welker, who just five days ago welcomed his third child along with wife Anna Burns, was hired by the Houston Texans in January as an offensive/special teams assistant coach. The couple had twins in 2015.

Asked about how he feels from a health perspective, Welker answered by focusing mostly on his transition from a playing career -- which concluded in 2015 with an eight-game stint with the Rams after two seasons with the Broncos -- to coaching.

"The past year has been tough, because, 'What do you do?' You have nothing to do. So you're sitting there saying, 'What will I do with myself.' You can't just sit here and drink 12 beers a day and think everything is going to be cool," he said.

"I think the main thing for me is staying busy and finding purpose and what I want to do. I think whether you have concussions or not, you have to stay active and stay passionate about something. So I think having this job and having something I enjoy and I'm passionate about keeps me busy, keeps my mind thinking, keeps me engaged, and it's something that I love. I think that's been good for me.

"Healthwise, I've been good as far as that stuff. The year off sucked. Getting through that year and then finding what I really want to do -- this is it. And just pushing forward with it and going at it like I have everything else -- just giving my best shot at whatever I'm doing."