Wes Welker hints at why he believes Tom Brady left Patriots for Bucs

Two camps have emerged amid the reaction to Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots: Those who were shocked to see him go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and those who saw his exit coming.

You can put Wes Welker in the latter camp.

The current San Francisco 49ers wide receivers coach and former Patriots wideout admitted Wednesday he was «not necessarily» surprised by Brady joining the Bucs in free agency after 20 seasons in New England.

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«You kind of hate to see it just because he’s been there for so long,» Welker told WEEI’s «The Greg Hill Show.» «It’s going to be strange seeing him in a different uniform and all those things, but I wouldn’t say I was surprised.»

Why not, you ask? Welker, who caught 672 passes from Brady over six seasons with the Patriots, sincerely believes the 42-year-old wanted a new challenge.

«I’m excited for him to see something else, to see something new and different things like that, as a friend,» Welker said. «As a fan, you kind of hate to see it.»

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When asked if he thought Brady was upset about not finishing his career as a Patriot, Welker reiterated his point.

«I think he’s just excited to play football. Tom just wants to play ball,» Welker said. «He’s got some weapons down there in Tampa. 

» … It’s another challenge for him in his mind, I’m sure, of proving people wrong. He doesn’t have to be in New England to be great. And he’s going to take on that challenge, and I guarantee you he’s going to be full steam ahead with it.»

Many believe Brady left the Patriots in part to prove he can find success without head coach Bill Belichick, who won six Super Bowls with the former sixth-round draft pick.

Welker clearly subscribes to that theory, which carries weight considering how well he knows his former QB.

Welker’s 49ers reportedly were in the running to land Brady in free agency and have him replace his former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo. Welker insisted San Francisco is fully behind Jimmy G, though.

«I don’t think it was a very tough decision,» Welker said, «I don’t know personally; you’d have to ask (head coach) Kyle (Shanahan) and (general manager) John (Lynch) about what their thoughts were. But they, as do I, feel very strongly about Jimmy and what he brings to our team. Last year was the first year he played a whole season, so he’s only going to get better.»

Wes Welker hints at why he believes Tom Brady left Patriots for Bucs originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston