Report: Welker contract talks have 'gotten worse'


Report: Welker contract talks have 'gotten worse'

When Wes Welker decided to sign his 9.5 million franchise tender earlier this week, many were left to ponder the same question: Why?

Welker loves football, and it would have pained him to miss next week's OTAs. But by signing his guaranteed one-year deal -- and hoping that the Patriots would eventually reward him with a long-term contract -- he relinquished almost all leverage in negotiations.

Now it appears as though the receiver is realizing how his "leap of faith" move has been received by the Patriots. He told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald that long-term contract negotiations have "gotten worse" since he signed his franchise tender.

There have been talks, but nothing thats brightened anything at all, Welker told the Herald. Its actually gotten worse.

Welker went on to say that the Patriots' offer is actually less than the two-year, 16 million fully-guaranteed contract that was offered to him during the 2011 regular season.

Welker knows he could have held out. He knows he could have tried to make the Patriots sweat. But in the end, he also knows how things work in Foxboro. He told the Herald he thinks a holdout would have done nothing in terms of forcing the franchise's hand.

I think those techniques work better with other teams. I think the best thing you can do, as far as the Patriots, is be there and let them make the decision if they want to do something longterm or not, said Welker. Obviously, I want to be there. I want to help the team win. I want a championship and all those things. Im trying to do everything to make that happen, and Ill let everything else take care of itself.

It's a credit to Welker that his attitude hasn't shifted toward disgruntled, even as contract negotiations have been thrown in reverse.

The balls in their court. I just want to play, he said. At the end of the day, if its one year, 9.5 million, its one year, 9.5 million. Im good with that.

Rex Ryan: Zero focus on 'extracurricular things' vs. Patriots


Rex Ryan: Zero focus on 'extracurricular things' vs. Patriots

FOXBORO -- Seems as though the Bills don't quite have their stories straight. 

On the one hand, you have Bills players, who say that they won't hesitate to retaliate if a Patriots player gets near one of their pregame warmup drills, as Jacoby Brissett did in Week 4. 

On the other hand, you have the Bills coach, who sounded less eager for there to be any kind of scrap before this weekend's game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. 

"No, I mean with us, just go out and warm up," Ryan said in a conference call Wednesday. "That’s what you do, but any of the extracurricular things, you know, there’s absolutely zero focus on that, and shouldn’t be any focus on that. It’s just about playing games.

"I mean if people want to show how tough they are, put the boxing gloves on and get in the ring or something. That might be more impressive -- I don’t want Gronk by the way.

"But I definitely don’t want to see that happen, and our focus is 100 percent on the game and doing the very best we possibly can."

It's an interesting comment from a coach who has made it very clear that he wanted to build a "bully" in Buffalo. His team shut out the Patriots after trying to intimidate New England's rookie quarterback before the game. Did his team not benefit somehow from what occurred before kickoff that day?

He doesn't think so.

"It had nothing to do with our team . . . Absolutely nothing," he said. "You know, those things happen every now and then but it was no big deal. It did absolutely nothing for us."

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but . . . can I have your jersey?

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but . . . can I have your jersey?

Tom Brady has fans everywhere, apparently. Even in Pittsburgh. Even on the Steelers roster. 

Showtime's Inside the NFL caught video of Brady meeting with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger before Sunday's game between New England and Pittsburgh. 

The pair hugged near the 50-yard line at Heinz Field. Brady called Roethlisberger "big guy." Roethlisberger, who was out with a knee injury, told Brady he wanted to play "so bad."


Then Roethlisberger became a fan. And like many of them, he had a request. 

"Um, hey, listen," he said. "I've never done this before, but I would love to get a jersey at some point. It'd mean...There's not many I want to put in my office. You're the best, dude."

Brady was happy to oblige. Just not right at that moment. 

"Sure, I'd love to," Brady said. "I'll get you after the game."