The St. Louis Rams had a busy day on Monday.
First came the news that veteran wide receivers Wes Welker, Hakeem Nicks and Vincent Brown were working out for the team. Then it was revealed that wide receiver Stedman Bailey was hit with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Finally, at his weekly day-after press conference, Rams coach Jeff Fisher announced the team had signed Welker, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, to a one-year contract.
“He had a great workout this morning,” Fisher told reporters. “He’s really excited about where this team is going and I think he can potentially help us in a lot of different areas, specifically on third down and keeping the chains moving.”
The 34-year-old Welker has played the past 10 seasons in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos. He has 890 receptions for 9,822 yards and 50 touchdowns in 166 career regular season games.
“He’s in outstanding shape,” Fisher said. “We saw that early this morning. He’s in great shape. He’s anxious and eager to play. He’s moved the chains for two potential Hall of Fame quarterbacks and he’s good at what he does and he understands it. We already had a visit with him and Nick (Foles) and they’re excited. Whether he’s active this week, I can’t predict because we have a short period of time to get him caught up. I think he’ll eventually move some chains for us.”
Welker has a history of concussions, but Fisher said everything was “good” after the wide receiver went through his physical and workout on Monday.
Welker will take the roster spot of Bailey, who was the Rams third most effective wide receiver this season with 12 receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown. He served a two-game suspension — reduced from four games — last season after violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
“Very, very disappointed in his choices,” Fisher said. “He let himself down in addition to letting his teammates and this organization down. We have a strict policy as it relates to substance abuse, and he violated the policy.
“A setback for us from an offensive standpoint. A setback from a special teams standpoint. I've had numerous conversations with 'Sted' — he understands that this is his last go-around. If he wants to flourish in this league and have a career in this league, he's gonna have to change his lifestyle. He’s regretful.”