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March 14. 2013 10:37PM

Welker says toughest part is leaving buddy Brady


Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker talks to the media during a press conference held at the teams training facility. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Say goodbye to Tom Brady's favorite receiver.

Free agent Wes Welker, who led the Patriots with 118 receptions for 1,354 yards last season, finalized a two-year contract with the Denver Broncos worth $12 million on Thursday. The deal includes $150,000 in incentives in per season year if Welker catches 90 passes.

Welker, 31, was introduced in Denver on Thursday and said a departure from three-time Super Bowl champion Brady was the most difficult part of his decision.

"Yeah, that was definitely probably the hardest part, leaving Tom," said Welker, who made an average of 112 receptions during six seasons with New England. "He's a great competitor, a great player, a great friend across the board. I wish the best to him."

New England was prepared to lose Welker, who was offered $10 million over two seasons, according to reports. The Patriots already had agreed in principle to a five-year, $31 million contract with St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola on Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Patriots also signed former Seattle Seahawks running back and return specialist Leon Washington, a seven-year veteran who was recently cut by Seattle.

Welker bolsters the aerial attack in Denver, which now features three wideouts that racked up more than 1,000 yards in 2012. Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker will provide ample targets for four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning. Welker made certain to thank Patriots fans at the beginning of his press conference.

"I'd definitely like to thank New England for the six years there and all the trust and everything they put in me and the opportunities I got," Welker said. "But I'm looking forward to being a Denver Bronco and really trying to help this team win."


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