FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Wes Welker was jogging back to the line after running a route during the New England Patriots’ first training camp session Thursday when owner Bob Kraft arrived on the sideline and pointed in his direction.
Wasting no time, the Pro Bowl receiver immediately approached Kraft, the two sharing a quick embrace and a handshake before parting ways.
At least on the surface, everything appears to be just fine between Welker and the Patriots despite the two failing to agree on a long-term contract this offseason.
"Everyone tried. I tried, they tried, and it just didn’t work out," said Welker, who signed a $9.5 million franchise tender on May 15. "It’s in the past and we’re moved onto this season, which we expect to be a good one."
Welker is now resigned to playing out his one-year deal after both sides couldn’t come to terms on a longer contract before July 15, the deadline to sign franchised players to a multiyear pact.
Coming off one of the greatest seasons of his career, when he had a league-high 122 receptions for 1,569 yards and a career-best nine touchdowns in helping the Patriots reach the Super Bowl, Welker knows it’s a new year, and proving yourself, he said, comes with the territory.
"There’s no year where you don’t need to prove it. It’s like any other year," Welker said. "The contract and everything else is out of my mind. It’s
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who guided New England’s record-setting offense in 2007, is back calling the plays for quarterback Tom Brady and the offense after serving as head coach of the Denver Broncos and offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams.
McDaniels wouldn’t comment on Welker’s contract situation, saying only that he doesn’t believe it will play a role in his season.