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Wes Welker Press Conference Transcript

(on a message for the troops overseas)
"I just want to thank all of the troops for the dedication and heart that they are giving to our country, allowing us to be able to play this game and be out there on this field. It's because of you all. I can't thank you all enough."

(on the send-off when they left New England)
"That was crazy, seeing the fans come out. I think we had 25,000 plus. They are just as big a part of this as we are. Their full support and everything that they have given has been such a cool deal. It's an honor to be a Patriot and be able to be part of this whole experience."

(on if it's a little different now compared to when they normally come to Indianapolis)
"Yeah, it is. Usually, you come in to play the Colts and get ready for that game. There's definitely a big buzz around the city, just driving through. Everybody is very excited and very welcoming and everything else. We are just very fortunate, very pleased to be here.  So, we are just going to try to live it up this week."

(on if there is a sense of déjà vu from four years ago)
"I wouldn't call it déjà vu, but it is a lot of the same type of deals going on. Being there once before, you are kind of asked about this or that or kind of where this is set up or where that is set up. You are just kind of getting used to everything and used to your surroundings."

(on if this trip feels different than the others since they are here all week)
"Once you walk through and see where the training room is, see where the meal room and the meeting rooms, everything else, where the busses will be, all of that stuff, it's like any other road trip that we have been on on the west coast or anywhere else."

(on if he possibly took it for granted in his first year when they went 16-0 and went to the Super Bowl)
"In a way you almost do take it for granted. After having a great season like we did back then, you do almost think you are going to go every year, and 'we'll be back next year.' It's really hard to get here. It's a tough, long road. I think I've learned to appreciate it and make sure the younger guys know just how special this is and how hard it is to do, and to take full advantage of every possibility to do what's right for the team, so we can win on Sunday."

(on the team keeping its regular routine and coming in today)
"It is very important to keep the routine, and we will do it. Coach (Bill Belichick) does such a great job of setting everything up where we are just going to go out there and do our jobs and try to keep everything else aside, and really just focus in on this game."

(on consistently recording 100-catch seasons and what goes into that)
"It takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of hours in the offseason and everything else. Being able to be consistent like that and being able to get those catches year-in and year-out, it's just not getting complacent and understanding that you've got to do the things that got you there and even do more than that. It's not easy sometimes, and you want to kind of fall into the role of just getting by. You can't just get by, you have to get better."

(on if anything is different for him if tight ends Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez are out of the game)
"I know that I need to make some plays with those guys out of the game. They are definitely a big, integral part of our offense and everything that they do. If one of them is not in, you know the other guy has to step up and do some things out there. They have been great players for us all year. We are going to continue to lean on them through this game."

(on how using two tight ends has developed and how that changes how teams cover him)
"I wouldn't say it's really changed all that much. You see a lot of the same stuff still. I guess there are a few wrinkles and things like that. You see a lot of Cover 1 and different things like that, trying to take away the middle of the field and different things like that. I feel like we have done a good job across the board of trying to attack what they are trying to do to us."

(on if anything has happened with Coach *(Bill) Belichick because he seemed more at ease today with the media)*
"We wonder about that all of the time. I don't know if it's a lady in his life or what the deal is, but he definitely smiles a little more than he used to. But trust me, he is just as hard on us as what he's been since day one, at least with me. He is on all of the time. He works very hard and tries to put us in the best position to win."

(on if he knows how popular he is in San Diego)
"San Diego? No, not really. I only played one game there. I don't even think people know that I actually played that one game there."

(on how people in San Diego remember)
"Oh, do they? I learned a lot that training camp and that minicamp going in that I think really helped me along and really put me in the position I am today."

(on if he remembers what it was like to be released)
"Oh yeah. Trust me, I take nothing for granted as far as football goes and as far as my career and understanding that you never know when your day is up. They can cut you at any time. I remember back then, I made the team and being a rookie, I didn't know that they could cut you in the middle of the season after that. The next week I was cut. It was definitely a very humbling experience for me, but hopefully I don't relive that again."

(on if he is trying to help any of the other players who haven't been to a Super Bowl before)
"Yeah, just trying to keep them focused and understand that we are here on a business trip. That's all this is. This isn't for pleasure or going out or doing any of those things. This is a business trip, and understanding that all that matters is the outcome of the game on Sunday. Every little thing you do needs to be predicated on Sunday and what the game brings."

(on how his game has helped the evolution of the slot receiver)
"I don't know. I just try to go out there and do my job to the best of my ability. It seems like the game changes some as far as passing more and different things like that, but it seems like a lot of times you constantly get back to, 'We have to run the ball.' I think the slot receiver is an integral part of what today's game is. Understand that if you get stuffed on first down, and you are second-and-10 or second-and-9, you are kind of in position where you need that third receiver to come in and try to make some plays for you and do some different things like that. I think it's changed a little bit."

(on if he is still using most of the routes he used at Texas Tech)
"Not really. There are so many more routes now. There are a lot of options, a lot of different things that come up on any given play. You are reading the defense on a lot of that stuff. I think that's where being smart enough to play in the slot and understanding defenses, what they are trying to do to you, attacking defenders and different things like that is key."

(on how Rob Gronkowski's health impacts his role)
"If he is out there, he is a tough kid, and I am not really too worried about it changing what we are going to do offensively or anything like that. We are going to have him out there, and he is always a force. I don't think it is going to change what too many people's game plan is going to be."

(on what he has seen from Tom Brady after he was down on himself after the last game)
"He is always practicing hard. You think you are going to see more from him or anything, but he is always giving 110 percent, when we are out there at practice or anything. He is always perfecting things and wanting to do a good job out there. I wouldn't say it's any different than any other week. The guy brings it every week, so I wouldn't say it's any different."

(on if he does anything to make this feel like more of a home game)
"I don't think there is really anything you can do. You just kind of get as comfortable as you can, put as much time into it as you can and make sure that you are ready to go. I think that's really the key thing, to making sure we are on top of everything, and trying to make it as normal of a schedule as possible. From there, just going out there and trying to play well."

(on if he has family and friends in town)
"Not yet. They will get in later in the week. Really, I probably won't see them until after the game."

(on if he doesn't think he will see his friends and family until after the game)
"Not really. We may grab dinner Friday night real quick or something close by. Other than that, I don't think we will see much of them."

(on if he expects some Hoosier hospitality from the fans here)
"Absolutely. I think it's a little bit strange that we are going to be at the Colts' facility, practicing and everything like that. I don't know how much the people like that or anything, that has yet to be seen. Hopefully, we will be calm and polite and not rubbing it in or anything like that. So, hopefully everybody is nice, cool and appreciative."

(on what percentage he was health-wise last year)
"It's hard to put a percentage on anything on what it was and things like that. I know it wasn't 100 percent, because I knew I was capable of so much more, and so much better than what it was. It's just one of those deals where it takes time. I love playing, and I wanted to be out there so bad. You push it to the limit of getting back, but at the same time you know you are just not the same out there. You may be the same one day and three days later, you are not. It's a very frustrating thing. It's been nice to have this year, have this recovery and get back to how I know I can play."

(on if his injury was reflected in his yards after catch last season)
"I think even more so than what they were. I am sure it did. I think it affected everything, but that was then and this is now. It's been a long road in recovering from that, but I feel back to my old self."

(on how troubling it is to see Rob Gronkowski in a walking boot a week before the game)
"It's concerning, but at the same time you don't really worry about it. You just go out there and do your job and understand that we have a big game ahead of us, and you have to prepare and get ready. All of the other stuff will take care of itself in the end."

(on if winning this game would be redemption for four years ago)
"The only thing I am really focused on is winning this game. Does it take care of what happened? No, I don't think so, but at the same time, I am not worried about that. What happened, happened, and we've moved on. The only thing I am worried about is this game and doing what we can to win this game."

(on if the players have talked about what happened four years ago)
"We haven't talked about it. This year is this year. We've had plenty of games this year that we have been able to talk about, squeaking one out, you know or last week. We have had plenty of those."

(on the Giants' defense) "They are playing very confident football right now. They are playing really well. They are getting turnovers, and every time they get a turnover, it seems like they are turning it into seven points. They are always hanging around the ballgame and making the plays in the end to win. They are definitely a scary team. We are definitely going to have to go out there and play a very good ballgame to win."

(on what the passing of Myra Kraft means to this game)
"I think we just want to win the Super Bowl, period. But, she has definitely left her mark on a lot of guys in that locker room. The way she gave back, volunteered and the way she was the first person to hug and kiss you after games whether it was a win or loss, she was a very inspirational woman and we'll look for her to be with us on Sunday again."

(on what Bill O'Brien has been like)
"I haven't been able to tell that he is going to be a coach somewhere else after this season. He has been consistent just like he has this whole year. Nothing has really changed with him. It's all the same. The only difference is us giving him a hard time about being a head coach, 'You are going to Penn State. You are going to leave us in the dust,' and everything else. We will give him a hard time about it, but really watching him, he is fully focused on this game and what we need to do."

(on if Josh McDaniels has interjected himself more recently)
"He has helped out and everything, but for the most part he is just kind of laying back and observing. He is in all of the meetings and everything else, but for the most part he is just kind of sitting back and letting 'Billy' (Bill O'Brien) do his thing."

(on if he expects to be back with the Patriots with this being the last year of his contract)
"I plan on being back. I am not really too worried about that right now. I am fully concentrated on this game and what we have to do, but I plan on being back."

(on if he is surprised that he hasn't had something worked out yet)
"This is all stuff that we can address at another point. It can be a story after the season is over, but right now, we are just concentrating on this game and what we have to do to win this game. If you win this game, all of that other stuff takes care of itself."

(on what he has seen from Victor Cruz and how cool it is that he plays the slot position too)
"It's been great to see a lot of great players really come out and do great things in the slot position. He is definitely one of them. He does a really good job of getting in and out of his breaks, kind of setting up his routes and different things like that. That's what you have to do. You have to make all of your routes kind of look the same so at the end of the day, they don't really know if you are running the 10-yard comeback or if you are faking the 10-yard comeback and taking the middle or running an in route. Whatever you are doing, they don't really know, because it all looks the same to them. He does a great job of that."

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