Celtics' Terry can relate to Welker's departure

Celtics' Terry can relate to Welker's departure
March 14, 2013, 1:45 pm
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BOSTON — Jason Terry knows how hard it is to part with a team that's become part of his identity.

That's why he can relate to what Wes Welker was probably going through Tuesday when word came out that he would be leaving the New England Patriots - a team he set records with - to join the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos offered Welker a two-year, $12 million contract, well under the projected market value of many NFL pundits and fans. Even more surprising, the Patriots didn't want to match it.

Welker played six seasons with the Patriots, hauling in 672 passes for 87,459 yards and 38 touchdowns. Terry became a Sixth Man of the Year with the Mavericks over eight seasons, winning a championship with the team and becoming a fan favorite.

But when it was time for Terry to hit free agency, the Mavericks didn't show interest. Meanwhile, the Celtics were on the phone with him almost instantly, making him an offer that Dallas didn't want to match. Sound familiar?

"Oh, for sure, for sure. Dallas, there's no way in anybody's mind they didn't think I would sign back with Dallas," Terry said after the Celtics' 112-88 win over the Raptors Wednesday night. "I think they're still in shock over there, but it happens. It's the nature of the business, and some things you can't avoid. I know Welker probably deep down in his mind wanted to stay. He wanted to be a Patriot and still in his heart is a Patriot. But for other reasons business-wise he's not, but wish him the best."

Terry, who said he was "definitely shocked while the process of leaving Dallas was going on", felt that Boston was the next-best place to be if he couldn't stay. He also says Welker went to the second-best place he could go too, to play with Peyton Manning.

"But [Tom] Brady is definitely going to be disappointed he's losing him, but again, the Patriots will still be good," Terry said. "That's [Bill] Belichick's system. He has a great system, whoever is thrust into the role of Welker is going to play phenomenally.

That player looks to be Danny Amendola, who the Patriots signed to a five-year, $31 million deal shortly after the Welker news broke, and before the Celtics game got underway

"Did they get him?" Terry asked? "Second-best pickup. Can't have Welker, settle for second-best. He's a young version of Welker. So, I'm excited."

Terry, from Seattle, is a Seahawks fan, but also says the Patriots are his other favorite team. His teammate, Courtney Lee, is also a Patriots fan, but grew up watching Peyton Manning and the Colts, being from Indiana.

Lee has seen plenty of Colts games growing up to know that adding Welker to Manning's arsenal could be something special in Denver.

"Oh man, I think that's going to be a good tandem over there," Lee said. "[Welker] and Brady had it going for years. I'm not quite sure why they let him go, because he was always a key weapon here. But I'm sure all the fans here still like to wish him well wherever he's at though, but I think [the Bronocos] are going to be a problem out there."

Welker's contract was also a surprise to Lee, who like many, expected the slot receiver to get better offers, at least from his previous team.

"He's one of the go-to guys, so you have to take care of him," Lee said. "That's the business part of it, and hopefully people don't crucify him for leaving, or taking money. But the business part of it for players is you have to do what's best for you and your family. Once you get that taken care of then it's performance on the court or on the field. Like I said, it is a business. I'm sure a lot of people in that organization didn't want him to go, but when it comes down to paying him, there were probably people in that organization that weren't willing to."

So Welker ended up choosing Manning and the Broncos over staying in New England for less. But if it was based on quarterback alone, Lee knows who his choice would be.

"Even though Peyton Manning is good, I say Brady got that swag over him, know what I mean? He's sponsored by Uggs!"