Robert Kraft would like to see Wes Welker a Patriot for life

ATLANTA – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told NFL Network on Tuesday he would like Wes Welker “to be a Patriot for life.”

Welker signed his $9.5 million franchise tender last week.

“Well, we would like to see him be a Patriot for life,” Kraft said at the NFL’s spring league meetings. “But it takes two sides. We’re just happy he’s back in the system. He’s a wonderful young man, a special guy and I think both sides would like to do a deal, but it requires intelligence and putting our team first.”

Welker, 31, announced on Twitter last week that he had signed the tender. In an interview with the Boston Herald, Welker expressed concern and frustration at the pace of long-term contract talks but has backed off those comments.

“First of all, this is America, so anyone can say whatever they want,” Kraft said. “He’s done a great job for us. We’re always trying to do whatever we can do to put our team in the best position to win.”

“But Wes is a pretty special guy,” Kraft added. “He’s getting married. He has all kinds of (things going on). I’m so sorry for all those single young women out there. He’ll be off the market very soon. He’s a great guy and I love him.”

— Kimberly Jones

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