Forget about the Dos Equis commercials or the Zoltanisms. Wes Welker is the most interesting man in the world — provided he is a man at all.
It's simply not normal for a person to even think about participating in a game of flag football, let alone an NFL training camp, when he's not even six months removed from major knee surgery, but as everyone in New England knows by now, Wes Welker simply isn't normal. He may not even be human.
Consider the facts: He's 5-foot-9 (on a good day), he gets hit as hard as anyone, yet he's the league's leading receiver over the past three years. As you can see in the photo, his forearm appears to have a bulging six-pack, and as previously mentioned, he's at an NFL training camp in late July showing little signs of wear on his left knee, which was severely injured in January.
Sure, he may be human, but he's nothing like you and me.
On Thursday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was a bit more low-key in assessing his wideout's near-miraculous return to the football field.
"[He’s] like everybody else who has had an ACL [injury]," Belichick said plainly, ignoring that Welker isn't like anybody else. "It’s a long rehab. Players go through different stages of it. … There's a long way to go and we’ll see how that whole process takes place. I think the last 10 to 20 percent on those injuries is the hardest part to get back. We’ll see how it goes."
Of course, Welker isn't yet lining up to Tom Brady's right, as the Patriots are taking it easy with him during his recovery. He's on the physically unable to perform list and could be taken off at any point during camp, but even if he's not, it's looking like he'll be suiting up for the Pats' Week 1 matchup with the Bengals.
That statement alone was thought to be preposterous as recently as two months ago. In fact, hoping that Welker would even be able to play for half of the Patriots' games in 2010 was considered an aggressively optimistic outlook. After all, Brady needed a full year to recover from his torn knee ligaments and Carson Palmer needed eight full months, and those guys don't put nearly as much strain on their knees as Welker does when he makes his cuts.
But once he showed up to minicamp and looked to already be operating at close to 100 percent, Welker changed perceptions — not about the injury, but about him. Torn ACLs and MCLs still require anywhere between eight to 16 months to recover from … unless you're Wes Welker.
As he's made clear his entire life as an undersized, overachieving wideout, he has no problem being the exception, and his presence at Patriots camp is nothing short of exceptional.