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Wes Welker primed to break NFL record with Patriots

Wes Welker is on the verge of history. The New England Patriots wide receiver is eight catches shy of 100 for the season, which would make him the first player in the NFL to post five 100-catch seasons. Welker would break a tie with Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison.

Welker wouldn't talk much about himself or the record, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady took the opportunity to dish out some praise.

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"Wes loves to play football," Brady told the Boston Herald. "There's nothing more important in Wes' life than being a football player and thinking about football and making the big play and running the right route and getting open when it's most important. That's what quarterbacks dream about, too: having receivers that do that.

"And Wes is everything you look for in his ability, not only when he catches the ball to be an important part of the play, but also on plays when other guys are supposed to get the ball, he busts his butt harder than anybody to make sure he's doing his job to clear out on a certain route or to take some coverage with him so another guy can get the ball. I think that's what makes Wes really special is his selflessness as a player. But the ball always seems to find a way to him."

When people look back to this era where the NFL evolved into more of a passing league and the slot receiver became increasingly valuable, Welker will stand out as one of the pioneers who changed the position.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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