Now a coach with the San Francisco 49ers, ex-receiver Wes Welker opened up about his frustrations with the New England Patriots’ media policy for players.
Finally, Wes Welker is getting the chance to say what he really thinks.
The former wide receiver spent 11 years playing in the NFL – about half of which he played in New England (six seasons). During three of those six seasons, he led the entire league in receptions (2007, 2009, 2011), and to this day, he remains New England’s franchise leader in career receptions.
There were, however, two things Welker could never do while he was a Patriot. One: win a Super Bowl, and two: speak freely with the media.
He has a chance to amend that first career achievement omission this weekend, albeit as a coach. He works with the wide receivers for the San Francisco 49ers, who can tie the Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers atop the all-time list of Super Bowl champions with a sixth Lombardi Trophy if they’re victorious this Sunday.
The second thing he’s already got in the bag. Welker has enjoyed his opportunities to speak more candidly and transparently without filter during his many interviews this week as part of all the Super Bowl hoopla, and he’s also been quite open about just how different it feels from his time as a player under Bill Belichick in New England.
To be sure, Welker has nothing negative to say about Belichick’s abilities as a coach or his football IQ and know-how. His only gripe with the head coach? The culture of silence he instituted (and still institutes) on his players with regards to the media.
“It was at the point where I was like, ‘I don’t want to talk to the media. I don’t care. Like, fine. If you don’t want me to talk to them then I won’t talk to them.’ You can’t win,” Welker told NESN’s Doug Kyed. He called the whole ordeal “excruciating” as a player, and lamented the fact that he could not speak his mind or his true thoughts.
So how does he feel about his own players talking to reporters, now that he’s on the other side of the equation as a coach?
“As long as they’re not too outlandish or anything like that, I think part of this deal is to have fun and enjoy yourself and not take it too seriously. I never liked having to sit there and really feel like I said nothing but still be scared that I said something. It’s like, I’d rather focus on football than focus on saying something wrong at the podium.”
Patriots fans will most likely be town with who to root for this Sunday.
A Chiefs victory will prevent the 49ers from tying New England and Pittsburgh atop the NFL pantheon of Super Bowl victors. A 49ers victory will prevent one of New England’s greatest modern rivals in the AFC from attaining ultimate glory – plus it’d be nice to see former Pats QB Jimmy Garoppolo win a title as a starter, too.
Who are you pulling for in Super Bowl 54? Let us know in the comments section below!