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Welker rebounds in midst of historic stretch

Posted by Albert Breer  August 18, 2010 11:56 AM

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We've detailed Wes Welker's remarkable -- but in his mind, fully expected -- return for a February knee reconstruction. And as you guys  know well by now, his plan is to be going at his normal breakneck pace on Sept. 12.

Here's what's really amazing: When the 2010 season is said and done, there's a chance he'll have put together the most prolific four-year stretch a receiver ever has. And all that with the aforementioned major knee injury shoehorned in.

The NFL recently distributed it's "Back to Football" release, and it's chocked full of stats. One list, though, jumped out above the rest. It was the players with the most consecutive 100-catch seasons in league history. Here it is ...

Four
Marvin Harrison, Colts (1999-2002)
Three
Jerry Rice, 49ers (1994-96)
Herman Moore, Lions (1995-97)
Wes Welker, Patriots (2007-09)
Brandon Marshall, Broncos (2007-09)

Both Welker and Marshall can tie Harrison's record by hitting the century mark this year. But there's another mark that Welker seems to have at least an outside shot at.

Harrison has the record for most catches over a four-year stretch -- 469 over the aforementioned period. Welker has 346 over the last three years, meaning if he can match his production from last year (123 catches), he'll tie Harrison's mark. Marshall has 307 catches over the last three, so he'd have to go absolutely nuts, blowing away Harrison's single-season record, to catch the ex-Colt.

So is it unrealistic to think Welker could do it? Coming off the knee injury, it might be a tall order. But remember, those 123 catches came last year even as Welker missed two games and came out of the season finale early with the torn ACL. So maybe it's not that far-fetched, but it would be something else if, all things considered, he could pull it off.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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