Free agent wide receiver Wes Welker still wants to continue playing in the NFL despite three concussions in a nine-month span, but not everyone thinks he should keep going. Speaking on America's Pregame on Fox Sports, former teammate Champ Bailey said that Welker shouldn't play anymore given the seriousness of his injury history.
"I don't want Wes to play for my own personal reasons," Bailey said, "I've seen him get concussions, it scares me."
Bailey said that, as a friend, he still thinks Welker can play and contribute to an NFL team, but added that it's not worth the risk. Welker has already played 10 seasons in the NFL and has taken more than his fair share of hits over time with the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and most recently, the Denver Broncos.
"It's a serious thing when you start talking about your head," Bailey said, "For him to have to worry about that at a young age that he is now, he has to think about those years to come."
As far as the NFL concerned, Welker isn't at a "young age" -- he's 34 years old. But Bailey is thinking more long term and Welker's life after the NFL, which can be severely damaged with repeated head trauma.
"I understand why he has that desire to play. He feels like he has things -- he wants the ring, he's been to two really good programs that should have gotten him a ring, and he didn't get it," Bailey said.
Bailey, who retired after 16 seasons, knows a thing or two about longevity in the NFL. However, Bailey didn't have the kind of concussion history that Welker has. Although Welker has never won a Super Bowl despite playing in three of them with the Patriots and Broncos, he still can boast five Pro Bowls, two first-team All-Pro selections and two second-team All-Pro selections, so he has very little left to prove at this stage.
"And he still has that hunger, I just don't want to see it," Bailey said.
Welker was cleared by a concussion specialist in early May, according to a report from NFL.com. At this stage, it's unclear if any teams have come around calling or if they're shying away due to the concussions. Despite playing in 14 games last season, Welker posted some of his lowest numbers yet, catching 49 passes for 464 yards and two touchdowns.