Here’s a pretty great video from 2009 that shows Bill Belichick referring to Wes Welker as Wally Pipp after seeing a then-rookie Julian Edelman return a kick in a preseason game versus the Eagles.
Pipp was the often-forgotten New York Yankees first baseman who was once replaced by Lou Gehrig because of an injury. Gehrig went on to play 2130 consecutive games on his way to a Hall of Fame career. Pipp never got his job back.
After that preseason game, Welker told the New England media that he didn’t really understand the reference.
“I don’t know who Wally Pipp is, but something tells me I’m not falling in the same category,” stated Welker.
The ironic part is, obviously, that New England let Welker walk last offseason and Edelman has filled in admirably, catching 105 passes for over 1,000 yards for the Patriots this season. There was a rumored falling out between the Patriots coach and Welker, and Belichick clearly saw the potential in Edelman – a 7th round draft pick – from early on in his career.
However, Welker is not nearly as lost in the history books as Pipp was. Now with the Broncos, Welker reeled in 73 passes (including 10 for touchdowns) this year.
This coming Sunday, Belichick will have a good idea if he made the right call in letting Welker walk when the Patriots head to Denver with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line.