Welker, Pats can deal with mild disdain

Welker, Pats can deal with mild disdain
March 6, 2013, 9:45 am
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It wasn’t too long ago that we all just assumed Wes Welker’s Patriot days were numbered. Of course, this was back before Tom Brady swooped in and parted the Salary Cap Sea, and now — according to Mike Giardi — it appears that Welker and the Pats are closing in on a new deal.
But before anyone gets too hopped up on Welker’s return, Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole wants you to consider the following:
What's important to consider is Welker's somewhat mild disdain for the Patriots right now, according to a source close to the player. Welker apparently is a little miffed at how he was treated in last year's opener, when offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had him targeted for a season-low five pass attempts that resulted in a season-low three receptions.
That bit of tweaking stuck in Welker's craw all season. So did the notion that if tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski hadn't both gotten hurt at different times, there's a strong belief that Welker would have been limited to far fewer than the 118 receptions he finished with last season. In short, there's a little paranoia in the Welker camp these days about his role with the Pats.
First of all, even in the worst-case scenario, I think everyone in Patriots camp — owners, coaches, players, fans — can deal with “mild disdain.” Honestly, how bad can it be? Name a guy in that locker room (other than Brady) who hasn’t at some point had mild disdain for Bill Belichick. I mean, we’re human beings. Everyone has mild disdain for everyone.
At the very least, considering he’ll only be back under a multi-year deal, you have to assume that Welker’s disdain will be milder than it was last year. And was last year that bad? Even if he was pissed off he still led the AFC in receptions.
Mild disdain is not the end of the world.
It’s not even regular disdain.
Everyone will be OK.
On the other hand, if Welker and the Pats are legitimately interested in burying the hatchet before agreeing upon a new deal, here’s a suggestion:
Based on everything Welker said during last season, and the fact that he’s still reportedly holding a grudge/paranoid about the situation, it seems unlikely that the two sides have really — and I mean really — discussed what happened last September.
It seems like Wes is still looking for answers, that he wants to understand the motivation behind that early season insanity and an assurance that it won’t happen again.
Can they give it to him? I’m not sure. But the least they can do is try. Start the conversation. Everyone be honest. And who knows? Maybe they can even put this all behind them.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter @rich_levine.