Wes Welker was born in Oklahoma City on May 1, 1981. He began his football career at Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma City and during his Junior year, he helped lead his team to the 2A State Football Championship defeating Tishomingo High School. In that game, Welker had three touchdowns, over 200 all-purpose yards, a 47-yard field goal, and an interception. Also, in 1999 he was named The Daily Oklahoman All-State Player of the Year and Oklahoma State Player of the Year by USA Today.
Out of high school, Welker was not recruited heavily, as he was considered to be too small to play at the college level. However, after a recruit at Texas Tech backed out of his scholarship, it was offered to Welker. His last-minute signing proved very beneficial for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Based on a highlight reel from high school, Welker earned the nickname “The Natural” before his freshman year for his versatility and big-game performances. Over his four-year career, he had 259 receptions for 3,019 yards and 21 touchdowns, and 79 rushes for 456 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored eight touchdowns returning punts in his career, still tied for the NCAA record. This amazing athleticism prompted Welker to win the Mosi Tatupu Award, given annually to the best special teams player in college football and he was also named to the Sports Illustrated All-Decade Team as a punt returner. Yet, after his senior year, Welker was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.
Welker, who was not drafted during the 2004 NFL Draft, signed as an undrafted free agent with the San Diego Chargers. After the Chargers released Welker, he was offered a spot on the practice squad, but he decided to sign with the Miami Dolphins where he was mostly used on special teams from 2004-2006. In 2007, Welker joined the New England Patriots beginning a lustrous five year career with the team. While in New England, Welker led the league in receptions in 2007, 2009 and 2011. He holds the four highest single-season reception totals in Patriot history, as well as four of the top ten receiving yardage totals, including the franchise record. Welker reached 500 receptions with the Patriots in just 70 games, an NFL record. As if those accolades aren’t impressive enough, Welker, who had three consecutive 110-reception seasons (and has five total), is the first receiver in NFL history with at least three 110-reception seasons, and the first with five 100-reception seasons. Welker was selected to the Pro Bowl, the All-Pro Team, or both, in every season of his Patriots career.
On March 13, 2013, Welker signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Denver Broncos. Welker’s signing with Denver was a result of Welker and the Patriots being unable to agree to a contract. In his debut as a Bronco, Welker had nine receptions for 67 yards and two touchdowns against the Baltimore Ravens. By week 11, Welker had more touchdowns than he had the entire previous season with the Patriots and as many as he had in any season with New England. In January 2014, he earned his third AFC Championship win after he helped the Broncos defeat his former team, the New England Patriots.
In 2007, Welker established the 83 Foundation (after his uniform number in San Diego, Miami and New England). The Foundation, renamed the Wes Welker Foundation in December 2009, states its goal is “to influence at-risk youth, by encouraging their full potential through athletics and positive role models.” Its work primarily benefits schools and other organizations in Welker’s hometown of Oklahoma City.