FOXBORO, Mass. — Following a
13-catch performance in a win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Wes Welker
jokingly took a jab at head coach Bill Belichick. The story then spread like a
wildfire even Smokey the Bear would have trouble putting out.
Welker, who has built a
subtle reputation as a jokester since arriving in New England, served up some
fun after the big performance on Sunday by commenting that it was "nice to
stick it in Bill's
On Monday, the four-time Pro
Bowl receiver recanted his statement, explaining that it was all "just a
joke" — a completely believable sentiment.
But when thinking on it further, couldn't Welker's light-hearted attitude
actually be beneficial for the Patriots?
Tom Brady seems to like his receiver's
sense of humor, even when he's the one on the receiving end of the jokes.
"Yeah, all the time. I’m
on the receiving end of a lot of his jokes," Brady said of Welker.
"He has a great personality. He works so hard and he likes to keep the
mood light. He’s a little bit of a jokester. Not only that, he’s a great
Some may consider Welker's
attitude negative, but if Brady enjoys the jokes and the ribbing then it's got
to be doing something for team morale.
Brady is considered to be the
ultimate leader and professional on the Patriots, maybe even across the NFL.
So, if he views the jovial nature to be a good thing then it must be having a
positive impact on the team and the overall atmosphere among the players.
These Patriots players are so
trained to focus on preparation and pay such close attention to detail that
they must feel like zombies sometimes. Their jobs, although glamorous at times,
are undoubtedly draining. Maybe the only thing capable of countering that relentless
effort and dedication is some light-hearted laughter and a brief moment of
If Welker helps to bring that
type of relief to the Patriots, while also producing at a high level on the
field — he leads the team and is second in the NFL in receptions — then what can
reasonably be the harm?
Now, showing up your superiors, as some considered Welker's jab at Belichick to be,
isn't appropriate. Even regularly chiding teammates could spark some
problems. But a little laughter certainly wouldn't be the worst thing for an exhausted
group of guys every now and again.
The ongoing contract disputes
between Welker and the Patriots obviously add an interesting element to the
conversation. But even as Welker's future in New England remains in question,
his place on this year's team is both solid and important.
Welker's tremendous play on
the field adds a considerable amount of value to the Patriots' offensive attack.
But his animated attitude also adds some measure of quantifiable value for this
The jokes and amusement may
not exactly be in line with "The Patriot Way," and maybe Welker pays
for his actions with his playing time on Sunday. But the light-heartedness does
add to the character of this team, and if New England continues playing, and
winning, at such an elite level then there is no reason to stop it.