Welker not surprised by Patriots hardball

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Welker not surprised by Patriots hardball

PEABODY -- Wes Welker knew all along that the Patriots would play hardball before handing him a long-term contract.

He knows New England's history for making its best players fight for top-dollar deals. He had seen it play out before.

The Patriots did it with Deion Branch, who held out until he was traded to Seattle and rewarded with a big-money contract there.

They did it with Asante Samuel. He played under the franchise tag for a season and then went to Philadelphia to get his pay day.

Vince Wilfork skipped organized team activities in 2009 before showing up to camp and eventually getting taken care of.

Logan Mankins fought the longest and hardest, holding out of six regular season games in 2010 before the Patriots made him the highest-paid guard in the league.

The Patriots even made Welker's best buddy -- the best player in the history of the franchise -- Tom Brady squirm briefly before giving him what he deserved.

So is Welker surprised that the Patriots are balking at a long-term deal, even though they have said it is their goal to get him locked up for multiple years? Of course not.

"No. It's pretty consistent," Welker said of the Patriots' negotiation tactics. "You learn from it. And at the same time, you just appreciate being able to go out there and play the game, appreciate the fact that you got the opportunity to win a lot of ball games. I look forward to that."

After Welker signed his franchise tender, he told the Boston Herald that he didn't think holding out would help his chances at a long-term contract.

History shows that isn't always true. When Patriots players have held out, some have been rewarded with generous deals (see above). But in some of those cases, their rewards came from another franchise in another city.

That seems to matter to Welker. On Saturday, he repeatedly intimated how much he enjoys being a part of the Patriots franchise and wants to stay there.

"I enjoy playing. I enjoy being out there. I enjoy being a Patriot," he said. "All those things go in together and we get paid to do it -- paid handsomely. I'm excited about that."

Welker also reitterated that his love of football is what helped force him to sign his franchise tender when he did. The thought of missing organized team activities didn't appeal to him.

He admitted that his passion for football may have worked against him during the course of his long-term contract negotiations.

"Maybe," he said. "I'm not too worried about it. I love playing, and I think that's something I need to put into perspective more. Not so much the business side of it. I enjoy playing, enjoy going out there being out there with my teammates and playing the game I love. I think that's the key thing I can do. The rest will take care of itself.

Super Bowl appearances aren't old hat to all the Patriots

Super Bowl appearances aren't old hat to all the Patriots

FOXBORO -- It’s old hat to plenty of the Patriot, but certainly not all of them. A whole lot of players who joined the team since 2015 haven’t been to a Super Bowl. That says an awful lot about the personnel department headed by Nick Caserio with Dave Ziegler heading up pro personnel and Monti Ossenfort doing college personnel. 

Two of them -- cornerback Eric Rowe and linebacker Kyle Van Noy -- figured in the two Steelers turnovers in Sunday night’s AFC Championship Game. Both joined the team via in-season trades. 

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So in the afterglow of the Patriots postgame locker room, we asked a few of them what their emotions were upon realizing they were going to the Super Bowl

Eric Rowe (acquired via trade with Eagles, September 6): "It’s been a long road. Everyone has their own journey and how they got here but just for me, it’s been a long road. During OTAs and training camp down in Philadelphia, it was frustrating. I didn’t understand why I was sliding down the depth chart but I just kept my head down and kept working and once I got traded here I had to learn a whole new culture and defense and then I got hurt. Through those ups and downs it’s been all worth it. My parents, my girlfriend, my agent, all through training camp with the Eagles kept telling me, ‘Just keep your head up, there’s always something greater on the other side. Don’t stop working, keep working because you never know when you’ll get your chance and, ‘Boom’ I got traded so that was the way around that obstacle. And now I know what’s on the other side. 

Kyle Van Noy (acquired via trade with Lions, October 26): “I took a lot of heat [in Detroit]. I wasn’t living up to what I was capable of doing, even for myself. I had high expectations and I just wasn’t fitting in right away and it was great to get a fresh start and I’m really blessed to have them trust in me to come in and contribute. I don’t know if you ever get comfortable here. You better learn or they’re gonna pass up on you. I’m just grateful for the opportunity. Eric and I are holding it down for the Utah schools (Rowe went to Utah; Van Noy to BYU). We’re here to represent. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I am truly blessed and the man upstairs is looking out.”

Chris Long (signed in March as free agent): "I honestly didn't know they did the confetti thing after. Because I'm usually at the bar with these games are going on. And maybe it's a little later at night. I've turned it off. I didn't know they did the confetti thing after the AFC Championship. That was a real plus . . . because I love confetti. There's no bad situation where there's confetti. I can't think of one. I certainly feel like I’m in the right place at the right time. I’m on a helluva football team and lucky to be a part of it and we’ve earned the right for one more opportunity. It means something different to everybody. We come from different backgrounds, we come from different teams but we’ve all earned this together. It’s a melting pot in that way."

David Andrews (signed as undrafted free agent, 2015) whose great uncle is former Atlanta coach Dan Reeves: "When the Falcons went [in 1998], my parents couldn't take me, but they went." (Is he still sore about that?) "Not anymore. Not at this moment."

Joe Thuney (drafted in third round in May): "It's just a great opportunity. You've got people like Marty [Bennett] and Chris Long that have played so long and just don't get the opportunity. You just got to take advantage of it, and soak upevery minute, and just prepare as best you can, I think. Just go out there and do the best you can."

Malcolm Mitchell (drafted in fourth round in May): "I have no idea [what to expect]. I'm pretty sure I'll be debriefed. And guys will tell me everything I need to know walking into it."

Jabaal Sheard (signed as free agent, 2015): “Great feeling. Unreal. Just an awesome feeling. We gotta get this ring, man and go finish this thing off. It’s exciting, obviously. I’ve heard the stories from the guys who’ve been here. It’s huge. We have to go out there and take care of business.” 

Phil Perry contributed to this report.

Alarm-puller: ‘I’m drunk. I’m stupid. I’m a Pats fan’

Alarm-puller: ‘I’m drunk. I’m stupid. I’m a Pats fan’

Intentionally or otherwise, the guy who allegedly pulled the fire alarm at the Steelers’ hotel Sunday morning may have also provided the average Bud Light-loving Bostonian a new motto. 

“I’m drunk. I’m stupid. I’m a Pats fan,” Dennis Harrison told police after he was arrested, according to the Boston Globe.  

Citing the State Police report, the Globe wrote Monday that Harrison was talked into pulling the alarm while at a party in Revere, with a friend driving the 25-year-old to the Boston Hilton Logan Airport hotel Sunday morning. 

Harrison reportedly walked up to the second floor and pulled the fire alarm before returning to the car, but his friend and the keys were gone. He was then picked up by police while walking away from the hotel. 

According to the Globe, Harrison pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and setting off a false fire alarm Monday and was released on personal recognizance.