PEABODY — He may be Patriots receiver Wes Welker to most of us, but he was Coach Welker today at Bishop Fenwick High School where he his staff put over 500 kids through the paces at the Old Spice Wes Welker Football Clinic.
“It’s good to see, just because it’s the most pure form of football, I think,” Welker said. “And the kids just love being out there and they love running around and have all sorts of energy. It’s great to see and be around and it kind of energizes myself getting to see it a little bit.
“I’ll be here from start to finish and make sure that I’m interacting with these kids and make sure they’re having a great time and enjoying themselves.”
The most noteworthy items from Welker, who has been training in South Florida where he still has a house, is that he’s much healthier now with both his knee (now in second year removed from ACL surgery) and shoulder.
“It’s been great,” Welker said of his knee. “I’ve actually been able to train instead of rehabbing and it’s been a world of difference. I’ve actually been able to bench press for the first time and been able to squat because of my shoulder, I can reach back there to grab the bars. Some of those things are kind of key when it comes to football so I’m definitely excited about that and it’s encouraging to see and hopefully I’ll be able to use some of the skills that I’m working on now during the season.
“I feel so much better. It’s been great, really. Being able to train I have confidence in everything and I feel good out there and the running, there’s not achiness, there’s none of that, it’s just going out there and being able to do everything that I’ve been able to in the past and not have the aches and pains in the morning or anytime through it all. So it’s been nice to see.”
Here’s the rest of what Welker had to say on a variety of topics, including possible workouts with Tom Brady, the lockout, the young receivers and Ryan Mallett:
(How much have you talked to Tom Brady?)
We actually just talked yesterday. So we talk quite a bit and keep in touch and kind of see how each other is doing and what we’re working on and new things we like or don’t like or whatever. So we kind of stay in touch.
(What plans do you have to workout together?)
We’re always trying to coordinate a schedule. He’s really busy, I’m really busy and it’s kind of tough not being able to just go up to the Patriots’ facility and really get together and do something but we’re working on our schedules to get together and make sure we do some work.
(How much can you really get done?)
I think it all just depends on how organized you put it and get everything together and make sure you’re coordinating everybody’s schedules and I think that’s the toughest part, just coordinating everybody’s schedules and once we get there I think we’ll be fine. It is different not being able to have meetings and then go out there and execute everything that we talk about but hopefully we can put something together and work on something and, especially for these younger guys, give them an opportunity to get some good work and see where everybody’s at, really, and get some work that way.
(How much was last year a mental and physical battle for you?)
It definitely was both but, I don’t know. It was definitely a tough year and I’m very excited about this year. I’m excited about the training I’ve been able to get in and all the running and pounding I’ve been able to do and come out of it just fine. I’m just very excited about where I’m at now and where I’m at in the future.
(On the lockout)
I’m kind of at the same point a lot of the fans are. I’m definitely frustrated, I want to be out there playing. It gets old just training all the time. Want to get out there and go through meetings and get out there on the field and work on things and then get better as a team. Hopefully we get something worked out and I know as players, I can only speak for myself, I’m definitely excited for the opportunity to get out there and play. I came into this league just wanting to play ball and never thought something like this would be an issue and I’m sure a lot of guys feel that way. Being players and growing up and not having much, the fact that we’re squabbling about money is kind of ridiculous to me. I came into this league…I probably made more money than I thought I ever would in a lifetime so everything from here is just icing on the cake. So hopefully we get something fair done and we can move on and get to where we can play some football.
(Are you angry?)
I think everybody’s frustrated. Everybody wants to see football. I wouldn’t call it anger or anything like that, I think everybody’s frustrated by the situation and hopefully we can smooth it all out and cooler heads prevail and we can go out there and play football.
(You’re in the last year of your contract, when would you like something done?)
I’m not really worried about it at all. Either way, before, after, during, it really doesn’t matter. I enjoy playing ball so whenever it comes, it comes. Really, it’s probably the last thing on my mind. I just want to go out play some winning football for my team and get out there and play.
(On doing his training in South Florida)
For me, I still have a house down there from when I played. So having my house there, a trainer that I knew, having other guys that train in the same play I do, traffic’s not as bad as a lot of places, especially L.A., I can find parking, which is nice. And it’s a one-stop shop there where I can get massages there, I can train there, they have a swimming pool, they have a field like this outside. They have everything. It’s been nice to go to my own home and stay there and kind of enjoy that.
(What other NFL players are there?)
There are like 30-40 guys…Matt Forte, Greg Olsen, Drew Stanton, Ochocinco came for one day. Pete Bommarito Performance Systems. Stanton went back to Detroit so we’re a kind of lacking on quarterbacks right now. So if any quarterbacks out there want to come down and train, great.
(How much has the loss to the Jets lingered?)
It’s always the last game and especially being in the playoffs when you lose, that kind of sticks with you. And definitely that game. But it’s time to move on from it and I think we’ve moved on and that’s where we’re at. I don’t think we can look back at it too much but maybe use it as motivation as the year goes on and hopefully playing ball this year.
(Didn’t draft a receiver, say something about the young guys, Tate and Price?)
Those guys have a lot of ability and they’re still young. That was Tate’s first year of fully playing. It takes time, especially in this offense, it takes time for receivers and I think it’s always hard, especially in our system, for young drafted receivers to come in and really do something. They really have to do their homework and it’s hard for young guys to really understand that. But they’ve been great and hopefully we just keep on working these guys a long and bring them along and hopefully be a threat for us next year.
(You could tell Ryan Mallett to get down here and start throwing me the football…What did you think of his pick?)
Well, in Bill we trust, right? So whatever he thinks, obviously he saw something and we’ll see. We’ll let the rookies kind of gain their own way and I wouldn’t say just come on down and throw just yet. We’ll see where he’s at here in the next year or so.
(How important are those off-season workouts for a rookie?)
I think that’s huge, especially for guys coming in, they’re just going to be so far behind and it’s going to be tough for a lot of those guys just to come in and really have an impact. They’re kind of behind the 8-ball right now and hopefully we can get something figured out so these guys can really get up to see on everything and be able to play and learning a lot of things, not only from the coaches but from the older players and things like that. It’s definitely a tough time and hopefully those guys are working out and understand that they probably need to pay for some workouts and spend a little money. That’s a tough part right now. Guys are going into their own wallets to be able to train, but that’s how much we care about football and we want to make sure we’re putting a good product out there on the field and not having any sort of slacking or anything like that and able to play well out there.