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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wes Welker: I still worry about violating Bill Belichick’s media rules

Willie-McGinest-Wes-Welker-divaWes Welker spent the last six seasons of his career catching passes for the New England Patriots. You don’t survive six seasons in Foxboro without immersing yourself in the Patriot Way, which Welker seemed to personify as well as anyone. He may have moved on and signed with the Denver Broncos, but the 32-year-old still worries about breaking the strict rules drilled into his head by Bill Belichick.

In a recent issue of Sports Illustrated, Welker spoke somewhat candidly about the end of his tenure in New England. While most people believe it was the Patriots’ frugal ways that resulted in the divorce, Welker alluded to a relationship with Belichick that had begun to sour.

SI’s Chris Ballard wrote that Belichick had begun riding Welker “in a way he never had before, admonishing him in front of the team.”

“It was just kind of hard,” Welker said, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. “One of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him … But he does it to everybody, it’s the way he is.”

Like most other teams, the Broncos don’t seem nearly as strict as the Patriots when it comes to their players answering questions or speaking to the media. In fact, Belichick rules with such an iron fist that Welker admitted he is still concerned about whether or not his former coach will approve of the things he says to writers and reporters.

“When I’m answering questions from the Denver media, I’m not worried about what the Broncos’ people are going to think,” he explained. “I’m worried about what Belichick will think. Isn’t that crazy?”

Ballard added that Welker is “conflicted” when reflecting on his time in New England and that he feels things changed toward the end when his relationship with Belichick “deteriorated.” Welker loves to joke around, and his fun-loving ways once got him benched for the start of a playoff game against the New York Jets. Last season, there was even chatter about Belichick phasing Welker out of the offense before he began lighting it up and Julian Edelman went down with an injury.

Players enjoy playing for the Patriots because of their winning culture, but no one would ever tell you it is a relaxed environment. Welker’s comments remind us that Belichick’s demanding ways can take their toll on even the most polished professionals.

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