Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker made national headlines recently when he talked about how much he was enjoying the freedom the current NFL lockout has afforded him and how he’s in no hurry to see the lockout come to an end.
"Let’s do a lockout every year," Welker said in an interview with the Associated Press recently.
And Welker isn't alone in thinking that the lockout has its upsides: Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking finds the unusual time off has been refreshing and that he's been enjoying it. Brooking's happy that the lockout has given his body a little bit more time to regenerate, particularly as he's likely reached the final year of his career.
Brooking joined 790 The Zone in Atlanta yesterday to discuss the impact of the lockout, why he hasn't tried to work out at Valley Ranch, how his workout bonuses have been affected, how the team-only workouts scheduled for next week will make the team better, whether he and his teammates are worried about Dez Bryant and his surprise at how the Dez Bryant situation has developed.
You can listen to the full interview here and read the transcript of the interview after the break.
Did he plan to go work out on Tuesday?:
"No, I'm not headed there. I actually talked to Jason Witten [Monday] and he's our player rep here with the Cowboys. We're just kind of business as usual. Well, it's obviously not usual, but it's usual for this offseason anyways."
Does he have a workout bonus in his contract?:
"Yes I do have a workout bonus. I've already missed my bonus though. ... It's like 90 percent of my workouts and our workouts started on March 21. First of all, they have a motion for appeal yesterday which they'll get and we're going to be locked out again I would imagine. If I went today, every other workout for the rest of the offseason, I'd still miss my bonus."
Do some players have the mentality that, as long as a deal eventually gets done, it's been nice to have this time off?:
"I think the majority of the guys in the NFL, they take care of their bodies. They're true professionals; they go about their business the way they should, so it's not a big deal for them to be away from their trainers. ... I think it is probably refreshing a little bit for them to do that. For me, personally, I'm enjoying it. We're not working out as a full team right now, we start that next week. We're going to have some team activities that players are organizing, that we met about last week, we're going to start that Tuesday of next week.
Next week we get together as a team, your leaders can step up, it's a great time for them to be really strong examples for your team and come together. It's just players out there. We're going to be coaching each other, we're going to be out there practicing together, so it's going to be a good time for us. It can make us all better. It's a little unusual, it's a little different, but I think if you handle it the right way - and I think that we're doing that here - it can be a time where you grow the team and get better."
Did he and some veterans sit down with Dez Bryant this past weekend?:
"It's funny man, because that did not take place. That's amazing. I wasn't a part of that meeting. ... It's amazing how stuff gets reported out here. I was not a part of that meeting. ... There were five or six of us that had a meeting last week, leaders of the team. I won't talk about specifically what was mentioned in that meeting, but I know for a fact that the guys that were a part of that meeting said nothing to anyone out there, especially reporters. I don't know how that would get out there."
Did anyone sit down with Bryant?:
"It's very possible that a couple of the guys on my team did. But not me. I wasn't a part of it. I saw the same thing, I was like, "What....???" I guess he tweeted that I was in the meeting with him, but I have no idea."
On whether he's worried about the direction Bryant is headed:
"I think Dez is a good kid ... I've only known Dez for a year now, but Dez seems like a great kid. He's got a good head on his shoulders. That whole jewelry thing, jeez. I don't know how much of that's true, but the scrutiny that that gets and the attention that gets, that's just, c'mon, that's just ridiculous to me.
He's a good kid. The guy looooves football. Absolutely loves the game of football and can be an unbelievable football player. And works his tail off. Absolutely works his tail off. I think the sky's the limit for him."
Is it looking like this would be the final year of his career?:
"I feel like my body is definitely starting to come around now. ... Me, personally, the lockout's probably been a good thing for me to give it a little bit more time. But I'm working out extremely hard now. ... I don't foresee me playing another year after this year. This is definitely going to be my last year. It's been a great run, and I hated to go out the way we did with the season last year, so I'm definitely looking forward to turning this thing around this year and getting this thing headed on the right track."
Will any games be missed due to the lockout?:
"I don't [know]. I'm not for sure of anything. No one can predict what's going to take place, but I feel confident that we're not going to miss a regular season game. ... Our fans are going to see a full season. It's kind of unfortunate because they get all the bad news. ... The fans think the game's coming to an end almost, I think. It's going to get worked out, I feel very confident about that, I feel very confident that we'll have a full season."