Curran: Welker's joke was a matter of pride


Curran: Welker's joke was a matter of pride

First things first. Of course it was a joke.

Wes Welker's primary motivation for playing brilliantly is not to "stick it in Bill's face."

But it defies logic to think Welker's pride wasn't hurt at the start of this season. No matter the logic behind tapering off Welker's reps and targets, it was an affront to have him begin the season as a spectator.

And, Week 2 offered even more of the same until Aaron Hernandez got hurt.

If one exceeds their designated role for five seasons, as Welker did, then gets stood up at the bargaining table, as Welker was, you're going to be a little cynical. And if you give up your leverage for the good of the team and then have to watch the succession plan unfold while you stand on the sidelines, you're going to be irked. Or blind with rage.

Now, because of the Hernandez injury and the hand injury to Welker's apprentice Julian Edelman, he's the hub again and he's tied for second in the NFL with 38 catches. He's been thrown to 47 times in the last four weeks.

Who wouldn't feel a little vindicated? Who wouldn't find it hard to resist pointing out to management that you were the best when they tried to replace you and you're the best still?

So that's what Welker did. With a wink and a smile.

Now, there are two ways the Patriots and Bill Belichick can go with this. They can get indignant and let their pride run wild. They can put Wes back in his place by benching, scolding or -- when Hernandez returns -- freezing him out. They can show them who's boss and make sure he never forgets it.

But haven't they done that enough? Haven't they already shown Welker they have him by the stones by the way they treated him this offseason?

(Yes, I know 9.5 million franchise tender is a lot of money; let's not pretend the NFL is the real world.)

The guy signed his tender on time, got to minicamp and training camp and clearly worked his ass off to keep himself in condition while the Patriots showed little urgency to get a contract extension done despite promises that they would.

Welker knows who's boss. He lives it every day knowing that, if he blows an ACL in practice or a game, his future is murky as hell despite what he's done. He knows he hasn't banked as much money as he should have despite his production and that the reason for that is standing on the sidelines in a sweatshirt.

Welker knows that, in the end, he's a widget. And what he said Sunday reflected the frustration of that reality.

Which brings us to the second way the Patriots and Belichick can go with this. They can smile, say they love Wes and his sense of humor and leave him the hell alone.

Welker took a two-second opportunity to save some face on Sunday with a joke probably best left unsaid.

Now the ball is in Belichick's court. He can get indignant and prideful over a public affront. Or he can let it go for the good of the team.

Brady Facebook post offers chance to hang with TB12, Damon and Affleck


Brady Facebook post offers chance to hang with TB12, Damon and Affleck

Pizza and beer with Tom, Ben, Matt and you?

In Tom Brady’s latest Facebook post, three of Boston’s biggest celebrities are teaming up in a contest that gives a lucky fan a chance to hang out, drink and chow down with the Patriots quarterback and his buddies, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

Here’s the video, in which, among other things, the movie stars argue who Brady likes more.

For the record, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (listed in no particular order) do NOT pay me to be their friend.... 😶 All jokes aside, we'd really love for you to hang with us in Boston (flights and hotel are on us)! Donate to a great cause and get a chance to share some beer and pizza with us:

Posted by Tom Brady on Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fans have to make a donation that benefits Brady’s TB12 Foundation, the Eastern Congo Initiative and The more money you donate the better your chances are of winning.




Rex Ryan’s erratic act is his lone consistency

Rex Ryan’s erratic act is his lone consistency

With the Bills 0-2 and sinking slowly in a morass of dysfunction last week, Rex Ryan was anything but his corny, wise-cracking, false-bravado-bringing self. He was subdued before the Bills took on the Cardinals.

Now, with the Bills having spanked Arizona and the Patriots up next, Rex is back at it with the erratic, putting forth an eyebrow-raisingly bad Bill Belichick impersonation to start the week then parachuting into a conference call with Julian Edelman posing as a Buffalo News reporter.

He’s the guy at the house party knocking over the chips and drinks at 9 p.m. and wondering where the motherscratching karaoke machine is because he wants to SING!!

Asked to account for the behavior change from last week to this, Rex’ verbatim response was a look into his addled mind.

“I was still myself, I think just part of it. This week, look guys, we know who we’re playing. When you look at the ESPN deal, I think they’re ranked number one---I don’t know. Like I said, they’re number two, but I don’t think we’re ranked number one so---look, we know the task is going to be a big one. The quarterback thing, yeah you got to be prepared and you actually have to be prepared for three different guys. They’re no dummies, they’re leaving it out there, they can know who it is, I get it. They’re certainly not going to do us any favors.”

Give that a quick re-read.

My verbal syntax and wandering trains of thought aren’t evidence of an ordered mind either, so I do empathize with Rex. But neither am I the head coach of one of 32 entries in the NFL, a pretty high-profile league in which an ordered presentation from the guy in charge is usually a positive.

I spoke at length with Tim Graham – who really does work for the Buffalo News – during our Quick Slants Podcast this week.

Rex’ constant insistence on his own authenticity feels to me like a misdirection. He chooses who he’s going to be and how he’s going to be each week. That’s the only consistent thing about him, other than the fact that he is an eminently likable guy specifically because he is so vulnerable.

 For a guy that wants to projecting an image of a guy who just doesn’t give a s***, he spends a lot of time thinking about this stuff.  

“I learned a long time ago, you got to be yourself in this league and that [acting like Bill Belichick] wouldn’t have worked,” Ryan explained. “If I tried to be like Bill Belichick that would never work for me, just like, not that he ever would, but if he’s going to try to be like somebody else, that ain’t going to work for him. And so, at least one thing we have in common is the fact that we know you better be yourself in this league and look, I think it’s hilarious when he’s on there because that’s who he is but it’s great and he does it better than anybody else. Some guys that try to copy that style, they’re phonies. Belichick does it, that’s who he is. [Gregg] Popovich is probably the closest thing in the NBA. Like those guys are classics but that’s who they are and they’re fantastic and I think the record speaks for itself but you talk about a consistent guy, Bill Belichick is the most consistent guy there is and I try to be consistent, albeit in a much different way.”

Consistent in his inconsistency. Great fun at parties. No way to go through life as an NFL head coach.