Wes Welker, who has suffered numerous concussions throughout his career, signed with the St. Louis Rams on Monday, and Bart Scott doesn’t know how to feel about it.
Actually, scratch that. He does.
“Wes Welker had a great run, man,” The NFL Today on CBS analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “He came in as an undrafted free agent, broke a lot of records and caught a lot of balls, man. But I’ll tell you: Football in the NFL is one of the most addictive drugs there is, and it’s tough to walk away. Sometimes it’s hard to walk away. You say to yourself, ‘Who am I?’ For so long, football defined who you were. It was part of your routine. Even now, when the spring comes and I’m working out, my body thinks it’s football time. So if I get on the treadmill or if I go to a class, I blank out and I get into a competitive spirit and I don’t even remember what’s going on until I come back. Wes Welker has to understand that football is what you did; it’s not who you are. You got to be able to step and walk away while you still can.”
Welker, 34, caught 100+ balls five times in six seasons with the Patriots from 2007 to 2012. He spent his next two seasons with the Broncos, catching 122 balls for 1,242 yards and 12 touchdowns in 27 games, helping Denver to a Super Bowl appearance.
Scott and DA both feel Welker could still be a productive NFL receiver.
But that doesn’t mean he should be.
“It’s not worth your life, man,” Scott said. “It’s not worth your quality of life when you’re 30 or 40, especially now when we have the information. At the end of the day, I don’t know if he has kids. I don’t know if he’s married. But they deserve to have the best you that you can give them. And sometimes you just got to say, ‘You know what? It was a great run.’ That’s a decision we all got to make. I had to make that decision as well. Like, listen, man, when is enough enough?”
As DA pointed out, it would be one thing if Welker were coming back from a knee injury or a shoulder injury. But he’s not.
“Listen, I guarantee you he probably had to sign some type of waiver because the NFL doesn’t want to be liable and the team doesn’t want to be liable,” Scott said. “Because when he puts in for his disability, who you think is going to pay that disability? His last employer.”
At 5-9, Welker is one of the most undersized receivers of his generation, if not NFL history. He also never cared about going over the middle. That was Welker’s blessing; that was Welker’s curse.
“Is it worth taking (more hits)?” Scott asked. “It’s like Rocky IV with the blurred vision. . . . I hope it (doesn’t end poorly), but unfortunately we know most guys get retired; they don’t retire.”