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Buffalo Bills fans to Wes Welker: Good riddance

By Tim Graham

If Tom Brady is upset, then Buffalo Bills fans should be thrilled.

Prolific slot receiver Wes Welker went bye-bye, leaving the New England Patriots for the Denver Broncos.

For the first time in nine seasons, Welker won't be in the AFC East. The Bills won't have to worry about him zipping across the middle of the field for 10 yards, 9 yards, 12 yards relentlessly.

Brady apparently was not amused by this development. Comcast Sportsnet New England reporter Tom E. Curran quoted someone close to Brady as calling the development a "disgrace" and a "disservice."

Yahoo! Sports writer Michael Silver also spoke with another source close to Brady, and the reaction was equally unpleasant.

"If the offense doesn't perform at a high level, they're screwed," the source was quoted by Silver. "This is unbelievable. It's hard not to feel like they've sold him out."

The Patriots quickly replaced Welker by signing slot receiver Danny Amendola, previously of the St. Louis Rams.

Amendola is a terrific player when healthy and will help mitigate Welker's absence.

But Amendola played in only 66 percent of his games over four seasons with St. Louis. Welker played in 97 percent of his games over seven seasons with New England.

I asked Bills fans who follow me on Facebook to share their thoughts about Welker getting out of the division after six seasons with the Patriots and three with the Miami Dolphins.

"Woohoo!" from Nicole Schuman was the first and shortest response.

Jeff Ruben wrote: "Anytime a division rival loses their No. 1 wide receiver it is a good day."

Lori Chase, from the pit of her angst, countered: "They'll find someone else. They always do."

Jonah Bronstein added: "Been killing the Bills since he was a Dolphin, but Amendola is basically like hitting reset on the Welker machine. The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Chris Trapasso of BleacherReport.com wrote: "Best development for the Bills (secondary), and it didn't cost a penny."

Chris Devaney wrote: "Happy to see him go. Now there are only two receivers that the Bills can't cover (Gronk and Hernandez). I hope he's able to make the Pats pay for letting him go, though."

Marcus Fahey wrote: "I think it's great, but the fact we won't be in a position to take advantage of it is disheartening."

Howie Walters wrote: "Wish the Bills were in the bidding. Oh, wait. They don't have a quarterback. Sorry. I forgot. Never mind."

Jim Link wrote: "I'm excited to see it happen, Amendola is a great replacement, but there's questions about his ability to stay healthy. They only have two wide receivers on their roster now, so there's still a lot of holes to fill."

Russ Blair simply wrote: "Good riddance."

Welker scored only two touchdowns for the Patriots in a dozen games against the Bills. But his average receptions and yardage were on target with overall numbers that made him the NFL's most productive pass-catcher over the past six years.

He had 84 catches for 948 yards versus the Bills, an average of seven for 79 yards. His average game for the Patriots was 7.2 catches for 80.2 yards.

Two of his games against Buffalo were in regular-season finales, when New England pulled its starters to stay healthy for the playoffs.

Welker's best game was in the Bills' dramatic 2011 victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium. He set career-highs with 16 catches for a club-record 217 yards and scored both of his touchdowns.

That's why Buffalo's defensive backs and coaches this morning are saying "Good riddance," too.

tagged

2013 free agency | Rob Gronkowski | Tom Brady | Wes Welker
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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