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Bill Belichick on Wes Welker’s hit on Aqib Talib: ‘It’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen’ 01.20.14 at 9:34 am ET
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FOXBORO — Less than 18 hours after the Patriots’€™ season-ending loss to the Broncos, Bill Belichick had a chance to re-watch some of the game, including the play in which Denver wide receiver Wes Welker hit Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib on an apparent pick play across the middle of the field. The hit knocked Talib out of the game early in the second quarter.

Belichick didn’t have much to say on the hit during his press conference after the game, but he did come Monday morning in the opening statement of his end of the year press conference at Gillette Stadium.

“I feel badly for Aqib, the way the play turned out,”€ Belichick said. “I went back and watched it, which I didn’t get a chance to do yesterday. It was a deliberate play to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open. I’€™ll let the league handle the discipline on that. It’€™s not for me to decide, but it’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. And that’€™s all I am going to say about that.”

After the game, Welker said there was no intent to run into Talib.

“It was one of those plays where it’€™s kind of a rough play, and I was trying to get him to go over the top, and I think he was thinking the same thing and wanted to come underneath and we just kind of collided,”€ Welker said. “It wasn’t a deal where I was trying to hit him or anything like that.

“I hope he’€™s OK — he’€™s a great player and a big part of their defense.”

The Patriots announced Talib suffered a knee injury on the play and his return was questionable, but he never returned to the game.

Read More: AFC Championship, Aqib Talib, Bill Belichick, Wes Welker
Wes Welker: I wasn’t trying to knock Aqib Talib out of game 01.19.14 at 8:32 pm ET
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DENVER — Wes Welker said he wasn’t trying to knock Aqib Talib out of the game when the two collided in the first half of Sunday’s AFC title game.

“It was one of those plays where it’s kind of a rough play, and I was trying to get him to go over the top, and I think he was thinking the same thing and wanted to come underneath and we just kind of collided,” Welker said after the game. “It wasn’t a deal where I was trying to hit him or anything like that.

“I hope he’s OK — he’s a great player and a big part of their defense.”

After the collision, Talib left the field, and then departed for the locker room. He came back out at the start of the second half, but was unable to go the rest of the way. Following the game, Talib said ‘€œif I could have been out there, I would have been out there.’€ The corner said he ‘€œ[couldn't] remember how the play went,’€ but said that it was ‘€œvery difficult’€ to sit and watch the rest of the game.

Welker ended up with four catches for 38 yards in the win, and will advance to Super Bowl XLVIII with the rest of the Broncos.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Aqib Talib, Wes Welker,
Aqib Talib: ‘If I could have been out there, I would have been out there’ at 7:56 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib wouldn’t comment on whether or not there was anything wrong with the hit he took from former teammate Wes Welker that knocked him out of Sunday’s AFC title game, only saying that it was “very difficult” to leave the contest, a 26-16 loss for New England.

Talib left midway through the second quarter after taking a shot from Welker to the right side of his upper body on an incomplete Peyton Manning pass over the middle intended for Demaryius Thomas. He was announced as questionable with a rib injury and then, after halftime, a knee injury was added to the prognosis.

Talib left the field, and then departed for the locker room. He came back out at the start of the second half, but was unable to go the rest of the way. Following the game, Talib said “if I could have been out there, I would have been out there.” The corner said he “[couldn't] remember how the play went,” but said that it was “very difficult” to sit and watch the rest of the game.

Asked about the hit after the contest, Patriots coach Bill Belichick acknowledged it was a “key play in the game” and added that Talib wanted back in.

“Of course,” Belichick said. “There’€™s not a more competitive guy in that locker room than Aqib Talib.”

“He is a very huge part of our success,” said running back LeGarrette Blount. “A huge part of it all the way to this point. I wish he would have been able to go back in and play, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able. It hurt us a little bit.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Aqib Talib, Bill Belichick, Demaryius Thomas, LeGarrette Blount
Aqib Talib questionable to return after Wes Welker delivers a questionable body blow at 4:10 pm ET
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DENVER — The Patriots No. 1 cornerback is questionable to return after a former Patriot delivered a big body blow.

Aqib Talib left midway through the second quarter after taking a shot from Wes Welker to the right side of his upper body on an incomplete Peyton Manning pass over the middle intended for Demaryius Thomas. He was announced as questionable with a rib injury and then, after halftime, a knee injury was added to the prognosis.

Talib went down immediately and hunched over, holding his stomach and side. He was on the field several minutes as the Patriots training staff tended to him.

Replays showed Welker going low, aiming for his ribs and making contact with Talib’s hip and right side. The Broncos used several crossing routes in the first half to free their receivers but were not call for any pick penalties. Michael Hoomanawanui was called for such a penalty, a key penalty on third down that pushed the Patriots out of field goal position on their third drive.

As the Broncos were driving down the field 93 yards for a touchdown, Talib was escorted by Patriots medical personnel to the locker room. He returned to the end of the Patriots defensive bench on the team’s sideline as the Patriots were driving down the field.

Talib walked up and down the sideline with his helmet on, appearing as if he wanted back in the game, as the Patriots kicked a field goal. But instead, he was led back into the locker room for an early halftime.

Read More: AFC Championship, Aqib Talib, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots
Peter King on M&M: ‘Silly’ to say AFC championship determines Peyton Manning’s legacy 01.17.14 at 1:21 pm ET
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Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni Friday to talk about his AFC and NFC championship predictions and Peyton Manning. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

While they have different stories, King compared the legacies of Jerry Rice and Manning to prove his point that one game should not completely define Manning’€™s career.

“When I think of Jerry Rice, I don’€™t think that he couldn’t do it when he was 42,” King said. “The Manning story is different, but not altogether so. I think we place so much emphasis on how a guy does in very, very big games, and rightfully so if you’€™re talking about the greatest of all time, if you’€™re making that argument.

“I think it’€™s silly to say what happens in one game, this one game 20 years from now, is going to put Peyton Manning 18th on the mental all-time quarterback list, however you’€™d rank it, or fourth.”

For King, the argument against decreasing the value of Manning’€™s legacy on one game includes the potential for a worst-case scenario during Sunday’€™s game.

“Suppose that Manning puts up — take a number — 35 points,” King said. “And the Denver D just totally disintegrates and [Tom Brady] scores 45, and it’€™s a shootout and Brady wins.

“I just don’€™t think you can judge Peyton Manning based on you telling me, ‘€˜Well if he loses this game he is here in NFL history or he is there.’ … Whether he wins another Super Bowl or not, I will consider him among the top five who ever played, but I won’€™t consider him the greatest, because you’€™re right, a quarterback does have to win championships.”

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Read More: Champ Bailey, Chris Harris, Peter King, Peyton Manning
Wes Welker says comparing Tom Brady, Peyton Manning is ‘like comparing Picasso and Michelangelo’ 01.16.14 at 5:20 pm ET
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There’s no one more qualified than Wes Welker to compare Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Before catching 73 passes for 778 yards and 10 touchdowns from Manning this season, Welker earned his reputation as the best slot receiver in the game hauling in passes from Tom Brady between 2007 and 2012.

On Thursday in Colorado, Welker said it’s practically impossible to compare the two future hall of fame quarterbacks.

“It’€™s like comparing Picasso and Michelangelo,”€ Welker said. “€œIt’€™s hard to compare the two.”

A reporter followed up by wondering if Welker actually preferred either Michelangelo or Picasso. Welker said he had heard the comparison once before and thought it appropriate.

“I couldn’€™t even tell you. Somebody threw those names at me one time and I thought it sounded pretty good,” Welker said.

With Manning, Welker is seeing a renaissance, much like the one in 2007 when the Patriots brought in Randy Moss and Welker to rejuvenate the New England passing attack around Brady.

And like in 2007, the Broncos used Welker as a cornerstone of a record-setting NFL offense. The 2013 Broncos set new records for points and passing touchdowns.

“€œThere aren’€™t too many differences,” Welker said. “€œThey are great quarterbacks. They do a great job of keeping guys accountable, and their leadership skills and everything else. They are two guys you want quarterbacking your team. It’€™s a toss-up between those two.”

Read More: Michelangelo, Peyton Manning, Picasso, Tom Brady
Ex-Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker ready to face his old team again at 6:00 am ET
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When asked Wednesday about Wes Welker and the impact he’s had on the Denver offense in his first season with the Broncos, coach John Fox and quarterback Peyton Manning didn’t mince words.

‘€œHe’€™s been exactly what we thought we were getting,” Fox said when asked about Welker. “Even people in the New England organization said that we would enjoy coaching him, and we have. He came in, made a pretty big impact. The fact that he was voted captain and just got here is a pretty good indicator of what his peers and teammates think of him. He’€™s fit in in exactly what we thought he would be, and that’€™s important.’€

‘€œLike Coach Fox said, a lot of things that I think a lot of people thought about Wes as an opponent all proved to be true once he joined us as a teammate,” Manning said. “I always assumed that he was an extremely competitive guy that loved football and a guy that loved to work, he loved to practice. The way he played ‘€“ I saw him many a time play Colts versus the Patriots ‘€“ so to have him become a Bronco, all those things checked out.

“He’€™s a gym rat. He loves the game, loves to work after practice [and] loves to talk in meetings about routes that he thinks might have a chance to get open,” Manning added. “He’€™s very knowledgeable of defenses and how teams have played him in the past, whether they’€™ve double-covered him or whatever it may be. So he’€™s been a fun guy to play with, I’€™ll say that.’€

After six seasons in New England, Welker finished his first year with the Broncos with with 73 catches for 778 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games. After going down with a concussion that caused him to miss the final three weeks of the regular season, he returned to the lineup in last weekend’s divisional playoff win against the Chargers, and had six catches for 38 yards and a touchdown.

Welker said that after his first game against the Patriots — which ended in a loss in his return to Gillette on Nov. 24, a game where he had four catches for 31 yards — he was able to get some of that nostalgia of facing his old team out of the way. Now, heading into this weekend’s AFC title game, the focus is on football.

‘€œIt’€™s still another game,” he said Wednesday when asked about facing the Patriots. “You understand it is the AFC Championship, and everything like that. You want to go out there and prepare as much as possible. At the same time, it is still an opponent and it’€™s a team and you’€™re going out there and playing to the best of your ability and go out there and try to win the game.’€

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Read More: John Fox, Peyton Manning, Wes Welker,
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