Patriots

Welker feels he needs to earn his long-term deal

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Welker feels he needs to earn his long-term deal

PEABODY -- What more does Wes Welker have to do to earn a long-term deal?

He has led the NFL in receptions in three of the last five seasons (2007, 2009, 2011) and helped the Patriots to two Super Bowls. He has made four Pro Bowls and he's a two-time First Team All-Pro (2009, 2011).

In the eyes of many, he's done his job and should be compensated with the security of a multi-year contract.

But Welker wouldn't admit he feels the same way today while speaking to the media during his youth football clinic at Bishop Fenwick High School. He took a different approach: He doesn't have a long-term contract yet so he needs to go out and show that he's deserving. He needs to go out and earn it.

"You earn it every day," he said. "That's how you become great is go out there and earn it every single day in the way you lift and train, and the way you carry yourself, and the way you go out there and play. So, you know, it's just something you make a habit and you do on a consistent basis."

If he does that, the thinking is that he'll get what he wants.

"My outlook on it is go out there, play the game as hard as I can, play the game that I love to play and let everything else take care of itself," Welker said. "That needs to be my outlook on things. Know I'm playing on a great team and in some way trying to contribute to that team."

But what if a long-term deal with that team never materializes? Has he ever thought that this might be his final season in New England?

"I don't foresee that happening," he said. "I just take it one day at a time and try to be ready."

Julio Jones presents Johnson Bademosi opportunity to prove he's not niche player

Julio Jones presents Johnson Bademosi opportunity to prove he's not niche player

None of us thought Johnson Bademosi would be starting this past Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Jets because -- well -- that’s not what we perceive the 27-year-old to be. He’s a special teamer. It’s how he’s made his mark in the NFL dating back to 2012 with Cleveland. So why would that change in mid-October for a team he’s only been with for six weeks? Because Bademosi is -- and has always been -- intent on proving he’s more than a niche player.

“I see myself as a football player,” he said, “and whatever position they put me in, I’m going to try to be the best because that’s how I operate and who I am as a person. Whether that’s as a cornerback, on special teams, if they ask me to play wildcat quarterback. Whatever…”

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Bill Belichick and his staff asked for Bademosi to go on the field and not come off. He played 73 defensive snaps in addition to his usual core four special teams duties. 

“I felt like I played a whole game,” Bademosi joked, before saying, “I love playing football so I’m going to go out there and empty myself.”

He did just that, getting targeted only two times in the 24-17 win over the Jets. It was hoped that Bademosi would return to his normal specialist role, but with Stephon Gilmore still out with a concussion, it now seems more and more likely that the sixth year pro will have to be an ironman again Sunday night in primetime against the Falcons. Historically, the Pats have defended bigger receivers. That means Bademosi may be responsible for one of the most dangerous players in the league, Julio Jones.

“He’s an amazing player," he said. “We all know what he’s capable of. As a defense, we have to be prepared for him.”

The Pats were on Super Bowl Sunday and Jones still made a couple of ridiculous plays with either Logan Ryan or Eric Rowe in coverage with safety help over the top.

“He’s fast. He’s physical. He can jump. He can run. He’s smart. He’s everything you want in a wide receiver,” said Bademosi without blinking an eye. That’s the kind of confidence you want from a player at that position and facing this type of challenge. 

“You gotta believe in yourself,” he said “ I’m confident in my abilities. I work hard and trust my preparation.”

Being an elite athlete certainly helps. Bademosi was a scholarship football player at Stanford -- “some guy named Jim Harbaugh called” -- before ending up in the NFL. But it’s Bademosi’s willingness to go all in in the film room that impressed safety Devin McCourty. 

“…I think, honestly, the most work he did was probably with just himself jumping into the film, watching more stuff to exactly see,” said McCourty Thursday. “You know, when you’re a backup more, you’re kind of trying to see everything because you don’t know what role you might be thrust upon once you’re in the game. But, I think once he knew he was starting, it was kind of like, ‘Alright, let me focus in on this.’ I thought he did an awesome job of just being ready and competing.”

Bademosi will have to compete his ass off Sunday night, even against what has been to this point a physically compromised Jones. Based on what he did several days ago, there’s no reason to believe the Pats cornerback won’t bring everything he has, trying to prove again that he’s more than just a special teams whiz.

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