A Wes Welker hit knocked Aqib Talib out of the AFC Championship Game, enraging Patriots coach Bill Belichick. But Talib doesn’t think Welker did anything wrong.
Welker and Talib became teammates for the second time when the Broncos signed Talib on Tuesday, and at Talib’s introductory press conference he said there are no hard feelings toward Welker, whom he first befriended when they played together in New England.
“Wes is a good friend of mine,” Talib said. “I watched the play 1,000 times and I can promise you, he didn’t do it on purpose.”
That’s a sharply different reaction than Belichick, who called Welker’s hit “deliberate” and said that Welker “wanted to take out Aqib.” Belichick viewed the hit as “one of the worst plays I’ve seen.”
But the NFL confirmed afterward that Welker’s hit on Talib was legal, and if Talib didn’t have a problem with it, it seems that Belichick is the only person who did.
Talib also said he was surprised to learn the Broncos were making him an aggressive offer in free agency, and expressed excitement that he’ll be a teammate of Peyton Manning’s, and playing for John Fox.
“Peyton is a great quarterback,” Talib said. “I had the opportunity to be on the other side a couple times last year. The opportunity to play with him, that offense, this defense, coach Fox, it was a surprise to me. A definite surprise. I can’t wait to get to work.”
Talib and Welker will enjoy working together in practice, where they won’t be putting any hard hits on each other.