PEABODY, Mass. — Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker sang the company line Saturday while discussing his contract situation, going as far as to say he doesn't have plans to play anywhere other than New England.
"No, I don't foresee that happening," Welker said about the possibility that 2012 is his last season with the Patriots. "I just take it a day at a time, and try to get ready and better for this year."
Welker, who was conducting his annual youth football camp at Bishop Fenwick High School, was operating in the mode of damage control. He spent about 10 minutes with the media explained that any negative comments this week were a poor choice of words on his part.
Welker signed his $9.5 million franchise tender Tuesday and tweeted it was a "leap of faith" to get the process moving toward a long-term agreement. He also told the Boston Herald on Thursday that the negotiations have "gotten worse" over time.
"It's probably not the wisest choice of words, but sometimes you react on emotion every once in a while," Welker said. "It gets the best of you. I'm just excited to be on the team, excited to go out there and help my team win in 2012."
Obviously, the negotiations haven't been ideal from Welker's perspective. While he said he goes "back and forth" on being disappointed about it, he maintained he's happy to hit the field for another season in New England.
"I'm not frustrated whatsoever," Welker said. "I know the words that came out made me seem that way, but I'm not frustrated at all. I'm making five times more than what I did last year, so there's no frustration here.
"I just enjoy playing ball, enjoy being out there and enjoy playing the game. That's never going to change. I think you can get caught up in it and react silly sometimes. You know what? We're playing a game that we love, and there's no need to get into everything else about it."
Welker plans to report to Gillette Stadium on Monday for the start of voluntary organized team activities, and that led to the timing of his decision to sign his franchise tender. The 31-year-old said he's training hard to prove he's earned the $9.5 million, as well as to prove that he's still got the ability to maintain his performance level well into his 30s.
"I know probably history and stats are against me," Welker said. "But you know what? They've been that way my whole career, so I'm not too worried about that. I'll just continue to work hard and train hard and do the things I've done to get myself here and continue to do more of it. Hopefully play at a high level the whole time."