Welker Gets Inspired By Wounded Veteran

Ian Logue
July 23, 2010 at 10:19am ET

No Brady or Gronk, but plenty of storylines at Patriots OTAs
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski not at the start of the team's OTA's today
NFL notes: Don't be surprised if Deatrich Wise Jr., Derek Rivers rise up for Patriots
New Patriots DL Danny Shelton preps to hit the hill
Patriots center David Andrews excited with his new Georgia Bulldog teammates

I mentioned this in today's headlines, but wanted to highlight what is simply a terrific story which appeared in the Boston Herald this morning.

All of us have talked about what an impressive story Wes Welker's recovery from his knee injury has been, along with the amount of hard work he's put in as he tries to get set to return this season.  However in the grand scheme of things Welker would probably disagree, especially after his recent experience.

Welker's knee injury doesn't seem as bad to the veteran after meeting U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Downing recently (Photo Credit: Icon/SMI)
According to the newspaper Welker recently spent time with U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Downing, who after 9/11, Downing re-enlisted into the military.  His decision inevitably lead to a horrific accident, as he become a double-amputee when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2008. 

Considering everything Downing had been through, when Welker heard about it his story inspired the veteran receiver, who said he wanted to meet him.
“Society has it completely wrong by making athletes heroes,” Welker told the newspaper. “Mike Downing is the real patriot. When I heard his story, I wanted to meet him.”

According to the Herald the two had lunch yesterday at a Back Bay restaurant, and spent about three hours together.  The meeting put a lot of things in perspective for Welker, who listened to Downing  tell him how he's been adjusting to life in a wheelchair and getting comfortable with a pair of prosthetics.
“He’s such an inspiration,” said Welker. “He’s not bitter or angry. I don’t know if I would have re-enlisted after serving my country. He’s made such tremendous sacrifices, and he has a great attitude. It’s something we can all learn from.”

It's a pretty amazing story, so be sure and check it out if you haven't read it.