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Wes Welker: '9.5 million reasons' not to hold out in 2012

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Wes Welker's contract is a pretty serious concern for the New England Patriots. He was given the franchise tag, but there's obviously some concern that he'll hold out for a new deal instead of reporting on the one-year, guaranteed contract.

According to Welker on WEEI radio Monday, those fears are unfounded, and there's no chance he'll be missing any regular-season games.

"There's $9.5 million reasons why I won't miss any regular season games," Welker said, via our Patriots Rapid Reporter Greg Bedard.

Welker didn't, however, say whether he'll miss offseason training activities with the Patriots. But he did indicate that he probably won't participate unless he gets a new deal before then.

"I think we're still kind of waiting, but I'd really like to be there," Welker said of the offseason program. "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."

In other words: Welker will be there if he gets paid by the Patriots, but if not, he'll see them for the regular season. Welker also said he didn't "think there are any hard feelings" on either side and that "we're all on the same page."

Welker is in a tough position because he's an "elite" wide receiver, stats-wise, but he doesn't get the same credit as a Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald because of his style of play. Additionally, Welker is older (31), and the Pats probably wouldn't be thrilled about dumping a monster contract on him unless they can limit their exposure somehow.

Either way, it looks like they'll see him on the field come the regular season, and Welker will end up collecting, at minimum, $9.5 million in guaranteed money from New England.
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