The 49ers have made their first improvement to their wide receiving corps, adding a man with five seasons of 100 or more catches.
Of course, Wes Welker – the former Patriots star – is 37 and in his fourth year of retirement, so he won’t be running routes for Jimmy Garoppolo in 2019. But Welker, who played 12 seasons in the NFL, has been added to Kyle Shanahan’s staff as receivers coach, according to reports, and will be tasked with helping a group of young (Dante Pettis, Richie James Jr., Trent Taylor) and veteran (Pierre Garcon) players get the most out of its talent as the team tries to rebound from a 4-12 season.
The 49ers have not yet confirmed the hiring, according to Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee, but the move was first reported by the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain. Welker has spent the past two years with the Houston Texans as a coaching intern.
“Sorry to see Wes Welker leave the Texans but he’ll do well with the Niners,” tweeted McClain Tuesday.
As a player, Welker, who stands just 5-foot-9, was known for his quickness, good hands, fine routes and getting the most out of his talent. He was a two-time, first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler. He caught 903 passes for 9,924 yards and 50 touchdowns playing for the Dolphins, Chargers, Patriots, Broncos and St. Louis Rams, but had the most success in six seasons with Tom Brady in New England.
Mike LaFleur has served as Kyle Shanahan’s receivers coach, but is expected to be promoted into a higher role, reports David Fucillo of SB Nation.