Tom Brady praises Wes Welker as receiver is on the verge of an NFL record

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker may be playing under the franchise tag and could very well be gone next season, but there's one thing he can hang his hat on - NFL history.

Welker needs only 8 catches to break the NFL record for as the first player in the NFL to post five 100-catch seasons. That would break a tie with Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison.

"Wes loves to play football," Brady told the Boston Herald.

"There's nothing more important in Wes' life than being a football player and thinking about football and making the big play and running the right route and getting open when it's most important. That's what quarterbacks dream about too: having receivers that do that" Brady said.

If we're betting men, we'd say Welker will break the record Monday night vs. the Houston Texans. Eight catches for Welker isn't neccessarily a tall order. A slow start to the season had fans and media thinking he was being phased out of the Patriots offense, but we soon learned the folly of that assumption.

Watching Welker from game to game shows you just how valuable he is to this offense. We and fans alike are hopinh he and the team can both make a compromise suitable to both sides to keep him in a Patriots uniform.

If not, Welker's role would assumingly be filled by receiver Julian Edelman, who was injured yet again last week, this time with a season-ending broken foot.

Bottom line: Glass Joe isn't going to cut it, and the need to keep Welker becomes a priority. And we're sure Brady feels the same way:

"And Wes is everything you look for in his ability, not only when he catches the ball to be an important part of the play, but also on plays when other guys are supposed to get the ball, he busts his butt harder than anybody to make sure he's doing his job to clear out on a certain route or to take some coverage with him so another guy can get the ball. I think that's what makes Wes really special is his selflessness as a player. But the ball always seems to find a way to him."

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