One of the best storylines in Sunday night's Denver Broncos-New England Patriots game is Wes Welker returning to the stadium where he became a star. The Broncos receivers is sure to be received well by a lot of his teammates and Patriots fans — at least before the game — but what a lot of people are wondering is how it'll go when Welker sees Pats head coach Bill Belichick.
After all, Welker didn't depart for Denver under the best of circumstances. Though he said he preferred to remain a Patriot, his contract talks were contentious and Welker felt he was being lowballed with a two-year, $10 million offer. He ended up signing with Denver for two years and $12 million while the Patriots turned around and gave the younger (but more brittle) Danny Amendola a six-year, $31 million contract.
There was also the matter of the first two weeks of the 2012 season, when Welker was a non-factor in Belichick's game plan. All of it led to Welker saying earlier this year that the relationship with his old coach had "deteriorated."
So how will it go on Sunday night should the two men cross paths? Well, not even Welker is sure. Here's what he told former Patriot Tedy Bruschi in an interview on ESPN (via the Boston Herald):
Bruschi: "Do you still have a good relationship with Belichick?"
Welker: "I think so."
Bruschi: "When you see Bill on Sunday night and there's a possible interaction, is it the head nod, is it the handshake, is it the hug or is it nothing?"
Welker (laughing): "I think whatever the most awkward situation that could possibly happen, that’s probably what it's going to be."
Belichick seems like more of the "head nod" type, though there is precedence for the two to end up hugging it out. And let's be real: This scene from the 2012 AFC championship game looks about as awkward as it gets.
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