Native Oklahoman in Super Bowl

Friday, February 1st 2008, 9:03 pm
By: News 9

By Toby Rowland, NEWS 9

Wes Welker will make history Sunday as only the second Oklahoma City native to play in a Super Bowl.

It's an honor that keeps his family in awe.

"You see Wes as a family member and you're sitting there going this is unbelievable," his brother Lee Welker said. "To just be a part of this is... it's special"

It has been a breakout year for the former Heritage Hall star. He is tied for the most catches in the NFL with 112 and is an invaluable part of what could go down as the greatest team of all time. Welker's New England Patriots are on the brink of the first 19-0 undefeated season in NFL history.

Shelley and Leland Welker, Wes's mom and dad, brother Lee, sister-in-law Sarah and nephew Cal have watched this year in amazement and will be in Glendale, Arizona for SuperBowl XLII on Sunday.

"We all just connect because of it," his mother said.

It has been a long road for Wes Welker to Super Bowl glory. A high school superstar, leading Heritage Hall to a 2A State Championship and named Oklahoma Player of the Year, Wes's size kept him off the radar screen of most major universities. Even the University of Tulsa turned him away.

"We went for a recruiting trip," Shelley Welker said. "It was Keith Burns and he was a new coach there, and I said ‘I really think that this is your man and he can turn your program around,' and he told me, he said ‘my mother thinks that I should be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.'"

Welker would end up at Texas Tech where he tied the NCAA record for most punt return touchdowns in a career. But even after proving to be among the Big 12's best, he went undrafted into the NFL.

"When he got into the pre-season, he returned a punt for a touchdown and he caught another pass for a touchdown, and he realized ‘I think I can play at this level," his dad Leland Welker said.

Welker was a perfect fit with Tom Brady and Randy Moss. He has become perhaps the most valuable piece of the puzzle for one of the most potent offenses in the history of the game.

Welker has become a Boston-area superstar. He's unable to walk down the street or go out to eat without being recognized and many times mobbed.

Welker frequently returns to the Sooner state to help with his 83 Foundation that he established to help children in Oklahoma City.

His brother and sister-in-law help run the program.

"He spends a lot of time working with hose kids when he comes into town and that's really important to him," Sarah Welker said.

As for the Big Game, the Welker's are hoping for a perfect end to a perfect season.

"I hope its 48-0, but I don't think that's going to happen," Leland Welker said.