Time for Wes Welker to Retire

Wes Welker has had an outstanding 11-year NFL career with the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Denver Broncos after going undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2004. However, it is time for Welker to hang up the cleats after sustaining three concussions over a nine month span.welker

Welker’s former teammate, Champ Bailey, cares for and respects Welker so much he no longer wants to see him try to play. Bailey shared his thoughts with FOX Sports.

“I don’t want Wes to play for my own personal reasons. I’ve seen him get concussions. It scares me,” Bailey told Fox Sports. “I think he can still play, but I don’t want him to play because of these concussions.

“This thing is no joke. It’s a serious thing when you start talking about your head. And for him to have to worry about that at a young age that he is now, he has to think about that for years to come, and I just hope he hangs it up and not strap it up again. I understand why he has that desire to play, he wants the ring. He still has that hunger, I just don’t want to see it.”

The San Diego Chargers signed Welker as a free agent in 2004 and cut him after the first game in order to sign another player. Former Chargers’ coach Marty Schottenheimer has called cutting Welker “the biggest mistake I ever made.”

Welker chose to sign with the Dolphins who took advantage of his skills as a return man. While he showed signs of the player we have seen become a NFL star, Welker made his mark with the New England Patriots where he made the Pro Bowl five consecutive seasons and was named an All-Pro twice. During these years, Welker eclipsed 100 receptions five times and led the NFL in receptions three years.

The Patriots and Welker could not agree to a deal after the 2012 season so he took his talents to Denver for the opportunity to catch passes from Peyton Manning. While Welker’s receptions dropped from 112 his last season with the Patriots to 73 in his first year with the Broncos, he did grab a career-high ten touchdowns. But, the 2014 season was a tough one for Welker. He sustained a third concussion in nine months during the third preseason game and recorded only 49 receptions which was the fewest of his career since he had 29 catches with the Dolphins in 2005. One bright spot last season was Welker passing former Bronco Rod Smith for most receptions by an undrafted player.

I am sure playing without fear of sustaining a concussion must be tough for a player. Welker has had a very impressive career where he owns or shares 15 NFL records. Not bad for a player who wasn’t even invited to the 2004 NFL Combine.

The long-term effects of concussions are just not worth the risk of Welker continuing his career. He was married in 2012, and he and his wife could start a family if they chose to do so.

There have been many reported incidents of former athletes who suffer from CTE which is an illness related to brain trauma from repeated head injuries including concussions. Just last December, Kosta Karageorge who was a defensive end at Ohio St., was found in a dumpster with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. In September 2014, PBS reported that 76 out of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE. Welker’s former teammate, Junior Seau, shot himself in the chest in May 2012, after playing almost 20 years. After studying his brain, Seau was found to have CTE

I can go on discussing football players who committed suicide and their brain was found to suffer from CTE after their death. The long-term effects of concussions have become a huge topic of discussion in recent years to the point players are deciding to retire early rather than continue their careers. Just this past offseason, Patrick Willis, Jake Locker, Jason Worilds, and Maurice Jones-Drew chose to retire before the age of 30. In the case of Willis, he was a star, seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker who left 20 million to retire.

Welker’s decision to retire should be easy based on these stories and others that have been reported in the media.

And that’s as I see it!

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