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Wes Welker says he has nine and a half million reasons to play

Super Bowl XLVI

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05: Wes Welker #83, Rob Gronkowski #87 and Aaron Hernandez #81 of the New England Patriots wait in the end zone after losing to the New York Giants 21-17 during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Patriots receiver Wes Welker would love to work out an agreement on a long-term contract. But if he doesn’t, he says he’ll sign his franchise tender well before the start of the regular season.

Welker said on WEEI that there’s no way his contract negotiations will drag out so long that he sits out any games.

“No, not at all,” Welker said. “There’s nine and a half million reasons why I wouldn’t miss any regular season games, so you don’t have to worry about that.”

Although it’s a little surprising to hear Welker sounding like Terrell Owens’ publicist, it’s not surprising that he has ruled out a lengthy holdout. Welker has previously hinted that he might sign his franchise tender during the offseason, and a one-year guarantee of $9.5 million is not a bad deal for Welker.

In fact, Welker even suggested that there’s a chance he’ll sign his franchise tender in time to participate in the Patriots’ June 12-14 minicamp. It remains to be seen whether Welker and the Patriots can come to terms for a contract that goes beyond 2012, but for this season the Patriots’ opening offer of one year at $9.5 million is good enough that Welker is willing to play for it.