- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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"There are 9.5 million reasons why I wouldn't miss any regular-season games," Welker said on the "Mut & Merloni" program.
Welker was referring to the $9.5 million franchise tag figure, which is guaranteed to him once he signs the tender.
One of the next important dates on the football calendar is the Patriots' mandatory minicamp, which will be held June 12-14. Last month, Welker told ESPNBoston radio, "I'm thinking I'm probably not going to [attend the camp], but things could change."
His tone seemed different in Monday's interview on WEEI.
"I think we're still kind of waiting, but I'd really like to be there," Welker told hosts Mike Mutnansky and Lou Merloni. "I don't know. To say I'm going one way or another right now, I'm not going to say it's definite or anything like that, but I would definitely like to be at those minicamps for sure."
Asked if there have been discussions about a long-term contract with the Patriots since the draft, Welker said: "I think we're all on the same page and we're all trying to collectively come together and make something happen."
Welker said he would like to be rewarded for his performance over the last five years, no different from any other player.
"The main thing is really just trying to keep a level head about it, and make sure you're making the best decisions for yourself, but at the same time, put yourself in a position where you can play for a great team and hopefully do some great things in the future," he said, later adding that he has a "great relationship with Coach, Mr. Kraft, the front office and everybody else."
"I don't think there are any sort of hard feelings on my side or their side. I think we're all looking forward to the 2012 season and hopefully do some big things there," he said.
5hEric D. Williams