DENVER —** With a catch in the second quarter on the last play of the first half against the Arizona Cardinals, Wes Welker registered his 850th reception in the NFL, placing himself atop the history books with the most catches as an undrafted player.
The 5-yard catch came on a quick pass in the slot that has come to be known as a calling card for Welker in his career.
Now in his 11th season, Welker surpassed former Denver Broncos Ring of Fame wide receiver Rod Smith, who previously held the record. Smith, who played his entire career for the Broncos, caught 849 passes in his career from 1995 to 2006.
"I mean just really being in the same sentence as Rod Smith is something that I never dreamed," Welker said. "So I'm definitely honored just to be mentioned in the same breath as him."
The respect went both ways as Smith holds Welker in high regard, as well.
Images of WR Wes Welker, who joined the Broncos in 2013.
"I'm so glad [Welker] broke that record in the orange and blue," Smith said. "It just shows that anybody can go out there with big heart, big determination and big guts and play this game at a high level."
Welker's setting of the record is a testament to both his talent and perseverence after bouncing around early in his career after being undrafted out of Texas Tech. An outstanding receiver in the slot, Welker's presence on the field has been impressive for over a decade and this milestone just shows his proficience as a dependable receiver with great talent and physical skills.
With the catch, Welker also moved up to 24th overall for most career receptions in the NFL, and he has the chance to pass Irving Fryar to become 23rd should he record two more catches to pass Fryar at 851.