Should Broncos’ Wes Welker retire after third concussion in 10 months?

August 26, 2014

Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) is hit by Houston Texans strong safety D.J. Swearinger (36) and Jeff Tarpinian (52) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Wes Welker suffered his third concussion in 10 months over the weekend and, so far, no one is mentioning the “R” word.

Welker was described Monday by Denver Broncos Coach John Fox as “feeling good” and there hasn’t been a conversation about retirement.

“That has not been brought up at all,” Fox told reporters. “You’d have to talk to Wes in that area. I didn’t sense that.”

Fox spoke with Welker on Monday morning and described him as “feeling good.”

Welker suffered two concussions in a 22-day span last November and missed the last three regular-season games. When he returned for the Broncos’ postseason run, he was wearing a larger helmet designed to minimize the effects of blows to the head and he continues to wear it now. It isn’t clear whether it minimized the injury; his coach wouldn’t divulge the severity of the concussion symptoms Welker is experiencing. He left the preseason game Saturday night immediately after being his by D.J. Swearinger.

“It’s a concussion. I don’t think there are part-concussions, half-concussions,” Fox said. “I mean, you’re either concussed or you’re not.”

The injury alarmed Austin Collie, a free agent who suffered a number of concussions over his career.

In an unofficial poll on the Denver Fox affiliate’s website, 63 percent of respondents said Welker should retire. Welker’s small size and the way he is used, on routes over the middle, contribute to concussions and his former quarterback, the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, said it was difficult to see him hurt.

“It’s tough to see that happen and to a guy like Wes, who is one of my best friends,” Brady said Monday on WEEI radio. “He is as tough as they come, so you hate to see him go through those things, but to see it happen for the third time in a little less than a year is a tough thing.

“It’s a tough thing for any player to deal with.”

Welker and the Broncos are following the league’s concussion protocol and he is expected to recover in time for the team’s season opener Sept. 7. But, with concussions, at some point enough are enough.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Marissa Payne · August 26, 2014