Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Wes Welker happy TE got paid
By Mike Rodak ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski signed a six-year contract extension last week, attention turned to Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, who continues to negotiate with the team on his own long-term contract.
Speaking to reporters at Tuesday's mandatory minicamp, Welker said that he was glad for Gronkowski.
Wes Welker, who is seeking a long-term contract of his own, said Rob Gronkowski deserved the big contract he received.
"No, not at all," Welker said when asked if he was upset by Gronkowski getting a new deal before he had one. "I'm always pulling for the players. Especially a guy like Gronk, who does such a great job for us and works hard and deserves every bit of that contract."
Like Welker, Aaron Hernandez, the other half of New England's dynamic tight end duo, was happy for his teammate.
"Well I don't know who could be mad about that," Hernandez said with a smile when asked about Gronkowski's deal. "I'm happy for him. He deserves it."
Hernandez was asked if he is looking for a long-term deal himself.
"Yeah, but I'll leave that up to my agents," Hernandez said. "And that's that."
Six weeks ago, before Welker signed his franchise tender that will pay him a guaranteed $9.5 million salary this season, there was talk that he would not attend this week's mandatory minicamp. Welker practiced Tuesday and did not want the contract to be a distraction.
"I'm not worried about that at all," Welker said. "Right now I'm here, I'm happy. I'm just here and try to help our team win in 2012."
Welker was pressed further on whether he expects a deal to get done by the July 16 deadline for franchise players to sign long-term extensions.
"I don't really expect anything," he said. "I expect for me to go out there and do my job to the best of my ability."
At one point in the line of questioning, Welker looked to move away from the topic.
"I think I've said everything I've needed to say as far as anything about my contract," he told reporters.
Asked about the deadline at his Tuesday morning news conference, Patriots coach Bill Belichick did not have much to offer.
"It is what it is," Belichick said. "The rules are the rules. So whatever they are, we'll comply with them."
Mike Rodak covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.