Welker grateful for warm reception

June, 19, 2013
6/19/13
7:46
PM ET
BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Making his first appearance in Boston since signing with the Denver Broncos as a free agent this offseason, former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker said on Wednesday evening that it's great to return to the place he played for six seasons and has been met with a warm reception.

"It's been great," Welker said at an event promoting his hair transplant by local doctor Robert Leonard. "It was really cool, I was walking around Boston and people have been walking up and just been thankful for everything and stuff like that. People tonight [are] being very gracious and everything else. It's been really cool to come back and see that. I was afraid that they might throw stones at me or something, so they've been more than great to me."

Sporting a thicker head of hair than when the Patriots season ended in January, Welker also talked about the advantages to his new 'do.

"I'm fortunate enough to be here with Dr. Leonard and kind of showing everybody the transformation he's made on my hair and how it's coming in," he said. "I don't have to hide underneath the helmet anymore or a hat. I can actually style it a little bit and do some different things. I'd like to thank him for helping me out with that."

Welker was peppered with questions regarding recent news surrounding his former teammate Aaron Hernandez, but offered no comments on the matter. He also added that he's been focused enough on his new team that he hasn't had much time to keep up with the Patriots' offseason.

"Not too much, not really," he replied. "I'm so focused on what I'm doing now and trying to make Denver better and trying to help my team there."

Though Welker hasn't been keeping up on the Patriots, he has stayed in touch with former teammates, including good friend Tom Brady.

"Tom and I are obviously very close, so I talk to him every once in a while," he said, before directing the focus to his new team. "I've enjoyed my time in Denver so far and I'm really looking forward to the team we have there and what we might be able to accomplish."

Welker and the Patriots were unable to come to terms on a long-term contract this offseason, a situation that dated back to before the start of the 2012 regular season. He said he has no regrets about how things transpired and holds no hard feelings toward the organization.

"No, not at all, not at all," Welker said. "Unfortunately, it's the business side of football and as a player [something] that you don't like, but you understand it."

He also clarified remarks suggesting that he stated Tom Brady was angry that the two sides were unable to strike a deal.

"I don't know if I ever said he was angry," he continued. "I think I just said we're obviously really good friends, and so any time you lose a friend from your team, like we have over the past, you have it every year, you're upset about it. I never said he was angry."

Despite the difficult ending, Welker said returning to Boston brought up mixed emotions.

"It made me a little bit sad because you had so many years here and such a great time and everything else," he said. "But you try not to think about it too much, move onto the future and always hope for the best."

Welker, who also noted that he'll take in the Bruins game tonight at the TD Garden when they host the Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup, will make his return to Gillette Stadium this November when the Patriots host the Broncos in Week 12. The 32-year-old said he's already thought about the return.

"A little bit, a little bit," he said. "You have the whole season in front of you, so you're always working toward trying to be at your best and everything like that. But you definitely want to play the best at certain times, especially on Sundays, and I look forward to coming back and playing, and I look forward to all the games."
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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