BOSTON (CBS) — When Tom Brady finally speaks publicly about Wes Welker leaving the Patriots to sign with Denver, you know that he’ll hold the company line and call Wes “a great player” but say “it’s a business” and “we have to move on.” Behind the scenes, though, Brady’s reaction is about what you’d expect.
A source with “direct contact” to Tom Brady told ESPN’s Mike Reiss that the quarterback is “bummed out” over Welker’s move to the Broncos.
It makes sense, of course, considering the two are close friends and that Welker has been the quarterback’s go-to receiver since 2007. In their five seasons together (excluding Brady’s injury season of 2008), the duo connected on more than 550 passes for nearly 6,300 yards and 34 touchdowns. In that year Brady missed all but half of one quarter, Welker remained productive with Matt Cassel under center, catching 111 passes for 1,165 yards and three touchdowns. Welker was so appreciated by Brady that, as Reiss noted, Brady referred to the receiver as “the heart and soul of the team.”
“He shows up every single day being the best he can be,” Brady said of Welker in October 2011. “He sets a great example for every player, every veteran player, every young player, every coach of what he’s willing to do to commit himself to be the best at that he can be for this team. He never takes a day off, he never takes a practice off, he never takes a play off — run or pass. It’s like that in practice. What you see in a game is what he does in practice for us every day. And he never complains. He’s a hell of a player and I love being out there with him.”