After suffering his third concussion in the last ten months, not only should Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker sit out the rest of the 2014-15 season, but Wes should also call it a career and step away from the game of football.
Last night against Houston, Texans Strong Safety D.J. Swearinger delivered a shoulder-to-head hit on Wes Welker, knocking him out of the game, and delivering him his third concussion in the last ten months. After the next play that ended the drive in a Peyton Manning 29-yard touchdown pass to first-year Bronco Emmanuel Sanders, Peyton had some choice words for Swearinger. “He said “F” me,” said Swearinger after the game, as Peyton received his first flag for unsportsmanlike conduct in his 17 years in the league.
Whether Swearinger intentionally delivered the head contact or not, the fact still remains that Welker sustained another head injury. These type of injuries are scary as is, even more so when it’s the third major head injury that Welker has taken in the past 10 months. Having said that, it’s time for Welker to step away from the game of football.
Welker’s importance to the Broncos goes without saying. He’s one of Peyton’s favorite targets, and deservedly so. The five-time 100-receptions in a season receiver gives the Broncos the quickness and smarts 10 yards out from the line of scrimmage that brings the offense a sense of versatility that many teams in the NFL don’t have. Even standing at 5’9″ and in his eleventh season, Welker is still one of the most consistent and reliable wide-outs in the league.
However none of that matters when it comes to the overall health of Welker. Even if his absence hurts the Broncos offense, Welker’s health after football takes priority. Ultimately, the decision lies with Welker and his family as to what’s worth risking for the game of football, and I get the feeling this concussion needs to serve as the last message to Welker that it’s time to step away from the game.
As for the Broncos, Welker is vital to the success of the offense, however I don’t believe this team will miss a beat. Meant to be an eventual replacement for the departed Eric Decker, 2nd round pick Cody Latimer could find himself a part of the Broncos offense quicker than expected. Not just Latimer, but newly acquired free agent Emmanuel Sanders could also become more valuable in this offense. With Welker possibly out of the picture, the Broncos would likely slide Sanders into that slot role, and stick Latimer on the outside.
After getting a glimpse at the potential of Latimer through the preseason thus far, matched up with what we just saw between Peyton and Sanders against the Texans, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the Broncos will be any less successful when the sheriff is on the field working the offense minus Wes Welker. It’s just disappointing to see this plan come to fruition because of the loss of Welker. And if things work out the way they should, the Broncos will be without Welker from now on.