|Wes Welker has 432 receptions in his four seasons with the Patriots, including 83 in 2010. (Robert E. Klein/Associated Press)|
Welker is entering the final year of his contract, in which he'll receive $4.225 million in base and prorated salary, but the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver said money isn't on his mind as he prepares for his fifth season in Foxborough.
"I'm not really worried about it (a new contract) at all. Either way, before, after, during, it really doesn't matter," Welker told The Boston Globe on Saturday at his youth football clinic in Peabody, Mass. "I enjoy playing ball, so whenever it comes, it comes. Really, it's probably the last thing on my mind. I just want to go out play some winning football for my team and get out there and play."
Welker had reconstructive knee surgery in February 2010 after he tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee in the 2009 regular-season finale. He underwent rotator cuff surgery on his right shoulder a month later. The surgeries led to a difficult offseason that focused more on rehabilitation and less on a standard training regimen.
Despite the serious nature of the injuries, Welker played in 15 regular-season games for the Patriots in 2010, finishing with 86 catches for 848 yards and seven touchdowns. He had seven catches for 57 yards in a playoff loss to the New York Jets.
Welker has done the bulk of his offseason training work at the Bommarito Performance Systems clinic in Florida. Many other NFL players -- including Matt Forte, Greg Olsen and Chad Ochocinco -- also are training there.
"I feel so much better. It's been great, really," Welker said. "Being able to train, I have confidence in everything and I feel good out there and the running, there's not achiness, there's none of that, it's just going out there and being able to do everything that I've been able to in the past and not have the aches and pains in the morning or anytime through it all. So it's been nice to see."
Many teams around the league have gotten together for players-only workouts during this unusual offseason, but the Patriots have been quiet in that department. Welker said he and quarterback Tom Brady "talk quite a bit," though setting up workouts has been a challenge.
"We're always trying to coordinate a schedule," Welker said. "He's really busy, I'm really busy, and it's kind of tough not being able to just go up to the Patriots' facility and really get together and do something, but we're working on our schedules to get together and make sure we do some work."
Welker didn't hide his frustration when talking about the lockout that has shut down the league since March.
"Being players and growing up and not having much, the fact that we're squabbling about money is kind of ridiculous to me," Welker said. "I came into this league ... I probably made more money than I thought I ever would in a lifetime, so everything from here is just icing on the cake. So hopefully we get something fair done and we can move on and get to where we can play some football."