Earlier in the weekend, Bill Belichick found himself ranked second among active coaches by Sporting News.
While there can be some debate as to whether or not Belichick should sit behind the New York Giants' Tom Coughlin on the coaching ladder, few can debate that Welker deserves much higher on this list given the competition.
With the likes of Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson taking the top spots, Welker's role as a super slot receiver, while admirable and game-changing, cannot compete with the impact the elite receivers can make in one play.
Welker has, as Carter acknowledges, transcended his role as a safety valve for Tom Brady, but one can argue that he would not put up numbers like he has in a different system with a different quarterback.
Perhaps Welker's greatest characteristic is his never-say-die attitude and toughness, traits that allowed a man not of prototypical wide receiver frame to literally change the way the game is played with his style of play.
Many teams have tried to imitate Welker's success in the slot, and countless will do so in the game's future.
He has four 100-reception seasons in five years, and he is a very special talent. The Patriots showed a recognition of this with their recent slapping of the franchise tag on Welker to keep him catching passes from number 12.
Indeed, eighth place in a league where passing with multi-receiver sets is becoming the norm is nothing to sneeze at for a 5'9'' receiver who beat the odds and rebounded from a devastating knee injury that would have ended potential greatness from lesser men.
The Patriots are lucky to have Welker, and it is his unorthodox stature and ability for his position that make him so special.
Welker's unending ability to prove the critics wrong allows him to ascend higher each year, shrinking the number of skeptics every step of the way.
Given the recent hell of contract negotiations and a dropped pass in the Super Bowl that allowed the Giants to orchestrate an improbable fourth-quarter comeback for the ages, one has to believe that Welker will ratchet it up another notch this season.
Like he has done in the past, he will prove the critics wrong.
He is starting to get the respect he deserves. Here is at least one writer that believes he will be ranked even higher next year. Given the history of the little-receiver-that-could, I would be foolish not to.
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