FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Wes Welker was jogging back to the line after running a route during the New England Patriots' first training camp session Thursday, when owner Bob Kraft arrived on the sideline and pointed in his direction.
Wasting no time, the Pro Bowl wide receiver immediately approached Kraft, and the two shared a quick embrace and a handshake before parting ways.
At least on the surface, everything appears to be just fine between Welker and the Patriots, despite the two failing to agree on a long-term contract this offseason.
"Everyone tried. I tried, they tried, and it just didn't work out," said Welker, who signed a $9.5 million franchise tender May 15. "It's in the past, and we're moved onto this season, which we expect to be a good one."
Welker now is resigned to playing out his one-year contract after both sides couldn't come to terms on a longer contract before July 15, the deadline to sign franchised players to a multiyear pact.
Coming off one of the greatest seasons of his NFL career, when he had a league-high 122 receptions for 1,569 yards and a career-best nine touchdowns in helping the Patriots reach the Super Bowl, Welker knows it's a new year, and proving yourself, he said, comes with the territory.
"There's no year where you don't need to prove it. It's like any other year," Welker said. "The contract and everything else is out of my mind. It's really just going out there and focusing on playing good ball."
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While he clearly believes he's deserving of a long-term deal, Welker also understands the business side of the NFL.
"You always kind of think it's going to happen, and then, I don't know. I think you just get excited," Welker said. "But at the same time, you're very fortunate the position you're in, and I look forward to really playing out this year and playing some of the best ball I can play."
And what if Welker has another stellar season and then lingers through a similar contractual dispute next summer?
Not a concern.
"That's a great situation," Welker said, "so not too worried about that."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press