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Former NFL wide receiver Wes Welker criticized the NFL’s disability plan on Twitter Saturday after the Disability Initial Claims Committee tabled his request for disability benefits, citing a need for more medical records.
Wes Welker @WesWelker
@NFL I don’t have the time or patience for this. Been an employee of the NFL for 18 years and still going. This is bush league stuff! pic.twitter.com/kcOfuSStx3
In the Committee’s response, it noted: “Dr. Hussein Elkousy was unable to rate your various surgeries due to a lack of supportive documentation within your medical records. Specifically, there were no records reflecting that the surgeries were performed as a result of injuries sustained while playing in the NFL.”
Welker, 41, spent 12 seasons in the NFL between the San Diego Chargers (2004), Miami Dolphins (2004-06), New England Patriots (2007-12), Denver Broncos (2013-14) and St. Louis Rams (2015).
He was a five-time Pro Bowler, two-time first-team All-Pro selection and appeared in three Super Bowls during his career (two with the Patriots, one with the Broncos), though those teams didn’t win a title.
In total, Welker caught 903 passes for 9,924 yards and 50 touchdowns in his career, leading the NFL in receptions in three separate seasons. Not too shabby for an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech.
After his playing career, Welker shifted into coaching, serving as an offensive and special teams assistant for the Houston Texans (2017-18) and a wide receivers coach for the San Francisco 49ers (2019-21) and the Dolphins (present).
Welker isn’t the first NFL player to openly criticize the NFL’s disability program. Former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Brent Boyd once said the program’s approach to doling out its benefits was to “Delay, deny and hope we die.”
The NFL was also planning to reduce the monthly payments to its former players starting in Jan. 2021 by at least $2,000 or more, depending on the value of any Social Security benefits, though after backlash the NFLPA announced that the current system would continue for at least three more years.