What I learned from Wes Welker (and you thought you were under appreciated)

Wes WelkerWes Welker has been a hall of fame caliber receiver in the NFL the last several years. he earned the nickname “The Natural” his freshman year at Texas Tech. I like to call him “The Under-Appreciated”

His high school career sounds like a movie as he played offense, defense, and special teams. At Heritage Hall, Welker was a prolific contributor on offense, defense, and special teams. As a running back, he scored 80 touchdowns (53 rushing and 27 receiving). As a defensive back, he had 190 tackles, 22 interceptions (three of which he returned for touchdowns), and nine fumble recoveries. As a punt returner, he scored seven touchdowns. As a kicker, he kicked 35 field goals and 165 extra points. He was named Oklahoma player of the year by The Daily Oklahoman and USA today.

As you would expect, he got no major college offers! At the last minute, a Texas Tech recruit backed out, so Welker got it.

A Tech, he scored eight touchdowns returning punts, still tied for an NCAA record. He won the 2003 award for best special teams player and was named to the Sports Illustrated All-Decade team.

After his senior season at Texas Tech, Welker was not invited to the NFL scouting combine.

He was an undrafted free agent with the Dolphins. Only one player in NFL history, Gale Sayers, had more all-purpose yards in his first three seasons than Welker did with the Dolphins; Welker holds the Dolphins’ all-time records for total kickoff returns, kickoff return yardage, and total punt returns.

Of course the dolphins offered him a multi-year deal as a free agent. Nope. 1 year, second lowest possible offer.

He was traded to the Patriots. As a Patriot, Welker led the league in receptions in 2007, 2009, and 2011. Welker holds the four highest single-season reception totals in Patriots’ history, as well as four of the top ten receiving yardage totals, including the franchise record. He also holds the franchise records for most receptions in a single game, most receiving yards in a single game, longest reception, and career receptions. Welker, who had three consecutive 110-reception seasons (and has five total), is the first receiver in NFL history with at least three 110-reception seasons, and the first with five 100-reception seasons. Welker was selected to the Pro Bowl, the All-Pro Team, or both, in every season of his Patriots career.

The Patriots, as you would guess, resigned him. Wrong again. They let him go to the Broncos.

Last night, I watched him catch pass after pass from Peyton Manning.

The lesson here is simple.

1. Don’t ever give up.

Even when you are not recruited, not drafted, not signed, and not signed again by a team for which you set multiple records.

2. Don’t allow your worth to be set by others.

If you have ever heard Welker interview, you know he could not care less about teams undervaluing him. He is comfortable with himself and his ability, and does not worry about the rest. We should do the same.


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