Wes Welker’s future is Wes Welker’s decision

Wes Welker’s future is Wes Welker’s decision
August 26, 2014, 1:15 pm
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It’s time for Wes Welker to retire from football.

He needs to hang up those cleats, remove that oversized helmet and never set foot on a football field again. That is, unless he’s coaching one of his kid’s Pop Warner teams — and really, that’s the point. Welker should retire so that he can one day have the mental and physical capacity to be calling plays and unleashing high fives on his son’s sidelines. So that he can enjoy the fruits of the millions of dollars he banked over the last handful of seasons and live the longest, happiest and healthiest life possible.

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I truly believe everything that I just wrote.

After suffering his third concussion in the last year and number I-can’t-even-fathom-how-many for his career, Wes Welker should probably stop playing football. But at the same time, it feels funny and a little hypocritical to preach the value of a long, happy and healthy life after my column on Friday about being addicted to dip, ‪and the hell of a time I’ve had walking away. It makes me wonder: What if Skoal paid me a few million dollars a year to keep doing it? What if dipping made me famous?

I know it’s not the same thing, but I’m just saying: A lot of us do things that aren’t great for ourselves, and in most cases, we do them for free. In some cases, WE actually pay. We eat that bacon, egg and cheese sandwich every morning on the way to work and then pizza for lunch and Chinese food for dinner. We don’t wear our seatbelts. We drink too much or smoke too much or sit on our asses too much. In general, we can all be more active and proactive about living long, happy and healthy lives. But shoot, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes, against better judgment we have our own priorities. The term “best interests” takes on a few different meanings. We do what’s right for us as opposed to what’s “right” and that doesn’t make us bad people, it just makes us people. It makes us “us.”

On that note, right now, playing football is what makes Wes Welker “Wes Welker”. And unlike the vices that the majority of us deal with, Welker’s is incredibly lucrative, (in its own way) glamorous and I imagine just as, if not more difficult to walk away from than a tin of Skoal or a hot slice of pizza or an open bar on a Saturday night. Either way, in any case, the decision to walk away comes down to only one person.

And in this case, it’s Wes Welker.

Do I hope he retires?

Yup. I do. In 2014, we understand concussions better than ever and the more we understand the scarier they get. No one who cares about Welker wants him to head down that road. Instead, I really do want to see him jumping around on the sidelines at his son’s Pop Warner games. I want to see the Patriots honor 75-year-old Wes Welker before a game in 2056, and have Wes walk out onto the field with two grandkids on his arm. I want to see him live the longest, happiest and healthiest life possible.

But should he retire?

That’s not for me or anyone else to say.

Follow me on Twitter @rich_levine