FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Eleven times this season, Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker has had five or more catches in a single game. If he repeats the feat Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, he'll become the first player in NFL history with five seasons of 100 or more catches.
Asked Friday whether he's thinking about setting the record, Welker said flatly, "No, I'm not." (Earlier in the day, coach Bill Belichick attributed Welker's success to the receiver's dependability and durability.)
Welker said his focus is instead on a secondary group he described as "very physical," a term we've heard many Patriots use to describe the 49ers.
Welker will share the field Sunday with former teammate Randy Moss, who, like Welker, was acquired by the Patriots via trade prior to the 2007 season. Speaking about Moss on Friday, Welker said if he is able to see his ex-teammate before the game, he'll be sure to say hello, but his focus will remain on what he has to do to prepare himself.
When asked what has made Moss such a great player, Welker had no shortage of praise to share.
"He's so talented, so big and so fast," he said. "[He has] incredible eye-hand coordination and being able to find the ball in the air and all those things. Obviously, he's one of the greatest."
Welker isn't surprised that Moss has been able to return to the NFL after taking the 2011 season off.
"Not at all," Welker said. "He's obviously a tremendous talent and a smart football player, and he's done it for a long time."
Welker also briefly touched upon the return to practice of tight end Rob Gronkowski, who took the field for the first time since suffering a broken forearm in Week 11.
"It's great to see," he said. "Obviously, he's a great player for us and does a great job and [it's] good to see him out there."