Wednesday was a crazy day for similar-but-maybe-not-entirely-the-same wideouts, with Wes Welker riding the Patriot Way right out of New England and the Patriots moving right along by signing wideout and Welker clone Danny Amendola to replace him.
And so, an old era ends. But we do get to witness a little piece of history once Welker catches an actual in-game pass from Peyton Manning. That's because the wideout will become just the fourth player in NFL history to catch a pass from both Manning and Tom Brady.
Welker will join a distinguished group that already includes Jermaine Wiggins, Torrance Small and Dan Klecko.
Wiggins played for the Patriots for part of 2000 and then in 2001, catching a total of 30 passes for 336 yards and five touchdowns. He then caught two passes with the Colts in half a season with Indianapolis in 2002.
Small played wideout for the Colts during Manning's rookie year and was their third-leading receiver with 681 yards; he also had 45 catches and seven touchdowns. And, fun fact: he's the only other player on the Colts to attempt a pass other than Manning that year! (He did not complete it.) Small then closed out his career with the Pats in 2001, playing in three games and catching four passes. All of them came in Week 3 and Week 4, at which point Brady was starting.
Klecko is by far the most interesting of the group. Since, you know, he's a defensive lineman. Position be damned, Klecko still managed to catch a pass from both Brady and Manning. His lone catch from Manning was a two-yard touchdown reception for the 2006 Colts, while he caught three passes from Brady in 2004 for a total of 18 yards and no touchdowns.
But you know what the most fascinating thing about all these guys is? All three of them managed to win a Super Bowl ring. Wiggins won a ring with the 2001 Pats, when he was a teammate with Small (who, obviously, also won a ring).
Klecko actually won two rings, winning with both the '04 Pats and the '06 Colts. If you're Welker, that's a pretty good historical trend and one you hope continues in 2013.