FOXBOROUGH, Mass. —
He also won’t look ahead to where he might be next season, once his $9.5 million, one-year deal that came with his franchise tag expires. There will be a time to think about contracts. This weekend is not that time.
“I’m not worried about a contract at all,” he said.
And when he says that, you get the sense that he means it. His statistics might not be this good otherwise.
In fact, special teams captain and wide receiver Matthew Slater has admired Welker’s “professionalism” in the five years they’ve been teammates.
“A guy like that who’s been able to accomplish all that he has here, he never loses his sense of urgency. He never loses the respect that you have to have for this game,” Slater said. “It would be easy for a guy like that to take a couple of days off or not practice as hard here and there, but he doesn’t.”
That can motivate his teammates, of course. Yet another trait synonymous with the Patriots.
“If you see a guy who’s caught 100 balls every year working harder than everybody else, you definitely better be working as hard as you can,” Slater said. “There’s no room for slacking.”
So, as expected, Welker is preparing diligently to face the Texans and a secondary that’s banged up. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph was limited in practice Friday after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury and Houston coach Gary Kubiak said a decision on whether he’ll play will be made in the next couple of days.
Joseph said he expects to play. But nickel cornerback Brice McCain had surgery on his left foot on Monday and Alan Ball missed the previous game with a sore foot.
“You don’t have as much film” on players who will fill in, Welker said. “But you can still study the games that they are in there, and really try and get an edge.”