BOSTON (CBS) – For Wes Welker, the hardest part of leaving New England was the fact he would have someone other than Tom Brady throwing the football to him.

“That was definitely probably the hardest part, leaving Tom,” Welker said Thursday at his introductory press conference in Denver. “He’s a great competitor, a great player, a great friend across the board. I wish the best to him.”

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In his five-plus seasons with Brady throwing the ball to him, Welker caught 563 passes and 34 touchdowns from the quarterback. Now he’ll be catching passes from Brady’s biggest QB rival, Peyton Manning.

Welker was very Patriot-like in his introduction in Denver, dropping cliche after cliche and keeping it brief when asked about his former team.

“I’d definitely like to thank New England for the six years there and all the trust and everything they put in me, and the opportunities I got,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being a Denver Bronco and really trying to help this team win, and getting to play with Peyton [Manning] and a good group of receivers, and a good offense.”

Read: Patriots Announce Amendola Signing

Welker didn’t say much about his former head coach, but said that he and Bill Belichick parted ways on good terms and wished each other well.

Welker signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Broncos on Wednesday.

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