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Welker Wants to Win 'Above Everything'

Posted Mar 14, 2013

Wide receiver Wes Welker said he didn't have to be sold on Denver, he knew what a good opportunity to win it presented.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With his penchant for securing big-name free agents -- Peyton Manning in 2012 and Wes Welker in 2013 to name a few -- Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway has earned a reputation as a closer.

So what was his big pitch to put Welker in orange and blue?

"I was probably the one pitching to him, trying to make this happen," Welker said. "Finally we were able to kind of get together and get a deal done."

Welker, a New England Patriot for the past six seasons, said he got the feeling as free agency ticked by that he needed to look for a new opportunity. And he didn't want to look any further than Denver.

The opportunity to move from three-time Super Bowl-champion quarterback Tom Brady to four-time NFL MVP quarterback Peyton Manning was too good to pass up, as was the chance to win.

That's what Welker said he pitched to Elway.

"That I want to win. That above everything," he said. "We'd figure out the money part and all that stuff later, but that winning was a big thing for me."

Welker and the Broncos did figure out the two-year contract on Wednesday "relatively quickly," Elway said, as "there were just so many things that mixed just right."

One of those factors is how Welker will fit in on the offense.

The Broncos now have three wideouts that topped the 1,000-yard receiving mark in 2012 -- Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.

That fact wasn't lost on the 10th-year veteran. Not only does he get to work with quarterback Manning in Denver, he gets to team up with Thomas and Decker.

"They were another big part of me wanting to come here, just their styles and watching them on film and how good of young receivers they are," Welker said.

"With DT and Decker outside, the things that we can do with those big guys, he'll just be a tremendous complement to them and also make them better," Elway said. "He'll get to do what he does best inside."

What Welker does best is catch the football -- and do something with it.

His 672 catches during his six seasons with New England are 80 catches more than any other receiver over that stretch, and mark the most productive six-season stretch by a pass-catcher in NFL history.

But Welker is about more than just catches -- he led the league in yards after catch in 2008, '11 and '12, and led all receivers in the same category in 2007 and '09.

For his career, Welker has played in 140 games, catching 768 passes for 8,580 yards and 38 touchdowns.

That's not to mention his nine career playoff games in which he has caught 69 more passes for 686 yards and four touchdowns.

That postseason production, Elway said, is one of the most important traits Welker brings to the Broncos.

"We talked about it on the phone that he brings great experience playing in the playoffs," Elway said. "He's been there so many times with the Patriots that he's got an extreme amount of experience in the playoffs, and that's also going to help us."

Head Coach John Fox agreed that the team's newest addition could help come playoff time, when, as Welker put it, it's "a completely different ballgame." The team wants to move even further than last year's 13-3 season that earned the AFC's No. 1 seed.

"We accomplished a lot, and we're trying to accomplish more," Head Coach John Fox said. "I think you look for a guy with skins on the wall. This guy has been as productive a receiver as there's been in the league."

"This game's about matchups," he continued. "He's a tough cover for one person. We've got three good ones out there, and having been a defensive coach for nearly a quarter of a century in this league, and playing against him three times just in the last two years, he's a tough matchup, and that makes everybody else better."

Right now, Fox said, the Broncos have gotten better "on paper," and he noted that there's a lot of work to be done before the team can win between the lines on Sundays next season.

In the mean time, the club is happy with how the free agency period has developed.

"It's really a pleasure," Elway said, "to be able to call Wes Welker now a Denver Bronco."

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