Welker sidesteps money talk at football camp


Welker sidesteps money talk at football camp

By Tom E. Curran
Wes Welker isn't concerned about his soon-to-expire contract, telling media at his annual football camp that, "I'm really not worried about (his contractual situation) at all. I enjoy playing ball. Whenever it comes. Really, it's probably the last thing on my mind."
Welker, who turned 30 earlier this month, is entering the final year of a five-year, 17 million deal he signed in March of 2007. He's had history-making production in terms of receptions in his four seasons with the Patriots, becoming the first player in NFL history to catch more than 110 balls in three different seasons (2007-09). The Patriots have more than cleaned up on their investment given the sums of money players with far less production have been handed over the past few seasons. While Welker may not be materialistic, it wouldn't be a surprise if his sense of fairness was on alert as the time for negotiations approach. Welker, who had more than 400 young players at his camp at Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody, also told assembled media he's been working out in Florida and that - while he hasn't yet thrown with Tom Brady - the two have been in touch and plan to hook up soon. Welker also expressed a level of frustration with the ongoing labor mess. "Growing up, not having much, the fact we're squabbling about money is ridiculous to me," he said. "I came into this league and probably made more money than I ever thought I would in a lifetime. Everything from here is just icing on the cake.Hopefully we get something fair done and can move on and get to where we can play some football."

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.

"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."

Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition. 

"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.