Wes Welker Teaching Randy Moss Lessons Without Saying a Word

Wes Welker Teaching Randy Moss Lessons Without Saying a Word Randy Moss will go down in history as one of the best wide receivers to ever play in the NFL. Wes Welker will not.

That doesn't mean, however, that the former couldn't learn a thing or two from the latter.

Specifically, Welker could let Moss know what it's really like to feel unappreciated.

The undersized slot receiver has overachieved his whole life, getting by on quickness and determination rather than raw speed and natural talent. Everything he's gotten in his life, he's earned — including a five-year, $18.1 million contract that he signed with the Patriots in 2007.

At the time he signed it, he was probably ecstatic to be making so much money. Since then, though, he's performed at a higher level than anyone thought possible. He has more catches than anyone else in the league since 2007, and his eight catches on Sunday are a good start to leading the league again in 2010.

Those eight catches, of course, were exactly eight more than anyone expected Welker to have in the first eight weeks of the season, after he tore ligaments in his knee in January. The idea of expecting Welker to return by midseason and perform at 75 percent was considered to be an outrageously optimistic point of view just a few short months ago. Then, Welker reminded everyone that he's not like everyone else.

There's no way to justify the fact that he earns less than $2 million in base salary this year, yet you will not hear one peep from him this year.

"I had it pretty much instilled in my mind that I would be back," he said after Sunday's 38-24 win over the Bengals. "There [were] different scenarios kind of talked about, like P.U.P. and 'save my body' and different things like that. But that’s just not in me. I can’t sit there and watch my team out there playing and sit there and work out all day. I was sick of it and I was ready to get out there and play."

Welker was unbelievably nonchalant in talking about his return from the devastating injury, saying he simply wanted to play football. He clearly didn't feel like making a statement that he isn't getting paid enough money.

"As long as we’re winning football games, we’re good to go," he said when asked if he was happy with his current deal. "I think it’s helped me not take things for granted, really do everything you can to make yourself ready to go out there and play. Do everything possible, no stone unturned and making sure that you only get one shot to go out there and play in the National Football League. I just don’t want to leave any stones unturned and just want to make sure I'm giving it everything I’ve got and not take it for granted."

Moss, as everyone knows by now, had other things on his mind after the game.

"I just think from a business standpoint, this probably will be my last year here as a Patriot," he said shortly after contributing nicely in the win with five catches for 59 yards. "And I’m not retiring. I’m still going to play some football. I just want to get that off my chest and let you all understand that this is a business."

That quote — which was part of a much longer diatribe about feeling disrespected — has since set off a firestorm of reactions in New England. Many fans and media members have said that this might be the "Bad Randy Moss" that burned his way out of Minnesota and Oakland. Others have jumped to defend Moss, saying his comments and his timing were appropriate.

Regardless of where you stand on Moss' comments about his contract, his comments about football were a bit startling.

"Football leaves you in college and high school. This is a job," he said. "If you understand the nature of this job, then you understand where I’m coming from. That’s all I’m saying. I’m old. I’m not ready to leave the league yet, but I still have a family to provide for."

It wasn't exactly Ty Law saying he needs to feed his family, but it's hardly an encouraging sign that Moss is in a good state of mind.

Of course, that may not affect him on Sundays, and it's not losing him any friends in the locker room. The words most Patriots players use to describe Moss are "great" and "teammate," and the video of him taking Tedy Bruschi's role and leading the postgame celebration only cements the fact that he's not causing problems for the team.

"I take my job very seriously, to heart," he said. "I want to let [the media] and I want to let the fans, the real fans of the New England Patriots, know [that] I’m not here to start any trouble. I’m here to play my last year out of my contract."

He isn't causing problems — not yet, at least. Still, speaking out about his future and contracts moments after a big Week 1 win doesn't make him look very good, and at the very least, it has the region on watch for "Bad Randy" to once again rear his ugly head.

Yet if Moss wants to be a Patriot like he claims he does, he need only look across the room and find the locker of No. 83.

Welker and Moss are two receivers, both excelling with Tom Brady throwing them passes, both great teammates by all accounts. The difference is that Welker is going the extra mile to be exceptional both on and off the football field. He worked his tail off all summer long, not so he could hold out for more money or complain about a lack of extension, but simply so he could get back to playing football. To him, it's still football, and to him, playing the game will always be more important than the business side of the NFL.

Wes Welker is the anti-Darrelle Revis. He is infinitely more secure and comfortable than Randy Moss. He's as good as both of them — he just doesn't feel the need to tell anyone about it. If Moss wants to live up to his word, he'll do the same.

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