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Monday, August 27, 2012
Welker reacts to Hernandez deal

By Field Yates

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, who was unable to reach a long-term contract with the team this offseason, says that he is happy for tight end Aaron Hernandez, who agreed to a five-year extension with the team earlier Monday.

"It's good for him. I'm definitely happy for him," Welker said. "He's a great player and done a lot of great things for us. Good to have him here."

When asked what the Hernandez deal means as it relates to his own prospects for receiving a long-term deal this offseason, Welker deferred comment.

"I think you have to ask Coach Belichick that," he said. "I'm just going out here and doing my job to the best of my ability, and let everything else take care of itself.

A reporter drew a parallel between Welker's situation and that of Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who has been unable to earn a long-term contract in recent seasons, despite major statistical production and a leadership role in the team's clubhouse. Welker isn't sure the situations are comparable.

"I don't know," he stated. "I think it's a little bit different with the sports and everything and how everything kind of comes together, but at the same time, I'm under contract, and I played out my last deal, and I'll play out this one and we'll see where we're at."

When asked if he could see himself playing for another team besides the Patriots in the future, Welker said, "I'm not worried about that. I'm just focused on this year, and what I have to do and not worried about that at all."

Welker did not suit up for the Patriots' most recent preseason game on Friday night in Tampa Bay as a result of what he described as a personal situation.

"A lot of those personal issues, so I'll leave it at that, and let coach Belichick take care of everything else," he said of missing the game.

Shortly later, at his Monday news conference, Belichick described Welker's status as "day-to-day." When asked if Welker's situation was injury-related, Belichick simply repeated "it's day-to-day."

Whatever the issues may be, Welker anticipates being on the field with his teammates for the regular season opener on September 9 in Tennessee.

"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "I look forward to being out there with the team, and looking forward to 2012."