- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots' ultra-productive slot receiver from 2007-12, Wes Welker, is coming back to town. And it was inevitable that the team's new slot receiver, Danny Amendola, was going to be asked all about it.
Amendola drew a large crowd of reporters at his locker Wednesday and paid respect to Welker.
“Wes and I have been friends for a long time," he said. "He knows this is a business, first and foremost, unfortunately. We all love to play football. We share that commonality, for sure. I respect him as a man and as a player.
"Wes is a great player. I’ve been watching Wes since he was in college and I was in high school. It’s exciting to watch his career progress. It has nothing to do with me, but he’s done a lot for our position."
Welker leads the Broncos with 61 catches, which have produced 648 yards and nine touchdowns. He's played 76.2 percent of the offensive snaps. In 2012 with the Patriots, Welker played 87.5 percent of the offensive snaps.
Amendola has proven a capable replacement when on the field. He's missed four games with injuries -- first to his groin and later a concussion -- and has totaled 29 catches for 341 yards and one touchdown.
He's heard all about the comparisons to Welker, so this week is nothing new.
“You should have heard it when I went to college," he said, as both are Texas Tech alums.
Has it been worse in New England or at Texas Tech?
“About equal," Amendola answered light-heartedly, drawing laughs.
As for if it ever gets frustrating, Amendola said, "I’m worried about being Danny and being there for my teammates. That’s all I can worry about. ... It’s not my job to compare myself to anybody. So I just go out there and play my game and try to get the job done.
"I don’t really think about it too much, to be honest with you. I’ve been watching Wes for 10-12 years. It’s old news. He’s a great player and that’s the bottom line. We’re going to have to do a good job to stop him."