FOXBORO, Mass. — It happens in every game of every week, where one player lines up against the team that he grew up idolizing, and it probably happens with the Cowboys more than any other team in the NFL.
Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker grew up in Oklahoma City as a Cowboys fan, watching Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin win three Super Bowls in four years.
Welker will take on the Cowboys on Sunday for the second time in his career. The first meeting went swimmingly, as he caught 11 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns during the Patriots' 2007 victory in Dallas.
There weren't many rough times for Cowboys fans in the 1990s, but Welker hit on a couple head-scratching plays during Dallas' glory days. The subject was broached Friday when he was asked if he was ever worried about games when the Cowboys wear their blue jerseys, which they'll do Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The Cowboys hardly ever wear blue because of a superstition that it brings them bad luck.
"Not so much," Welker responded. "I was more concerned when D-linemen were trying to handle the ball."
Hello, Leon Lett, who had a nose for the highlight reel and a head for the blooper reel. Lett fumbled the ball while showboating his way into the end zone during Super Bowl XXVII, and his brain flatulence got the best of him again about 10 months later on Thanksgiving 1993.
"They still won [Super Bowl XXVII], so it wasn't too tough," Welker said. "But the one in the snow where he kicked the ball, that was a little discouraging at the time."