SAVING PRIVATE WELKER
Lord knows, I do love football. It’s the national pastime for reason. For one thing, no other game fits so perfectly well on television. We know when the commercials are going to happen with the exceptions of injuries, time outs, scores, and turnovers. The broad outline is entirely routine and we all live it, and love it. I plan my weekends plus Thursday nights around it.
Like most of you, I love football.
But Wes Welker, New England Patriot slot receiver, is getting killed out there. He played essentially the entire game (on offense) against the Seahawks. But he took a frightful beating. I am now officially scared for him.
Private Welker needs benching for his own safety. He used to slip tackles and avoid the worst punishment. Now Wes is getting lit up. He has taken too much, and can no longer slip the punches like he always seemed to.
Wes Welker keeps catching footballs when we most need him to. He plays for my team. He is our best receiver. He routinely leads the NFL in total catches. That also means he leads the league in receivers being tackled.
Like a boxer who keeps taking a fearful beating, and rises again and again; against Seattle, on Sunday, I wanted him to just stay down. Take a knee.
Wes came out of the game for one play after being smoked. He looked dazed when he got up. He raised his hand as a signal that he needed a blow, a rest. Wincing, he voluntarily trotted off the field. But then he was back again in the same series of downs, and I am now officially worried about him.
He made it through the game. So did Ted Johnson, a former Patriot player, now suffering from post concussion syndrome and early onset dementia.
Come on Coach Belichik, Come on Mr. Kraft, Come on Tom Brady. Consider Wes Welker’s overall health, – short and long term. Wes is a little fellow and he is absorbing too much for me to sit back, watching and cheering this stellar football player, without considering what might lie ahead for him.
Harry Lipson III, in Boston