Broncos coach John Fox had plenty of chances Monday to fire back at Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who essentially called Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker a cheap-shot artist.
Fox refused to take the bait.
“I haven’t even seen the tape and I haven’t seen his comment, so I don’t feel that I can comment on that, other than that I know that Wes Welker is a great player, high integrity,” Fox said. “I can say that we were not doing anything with intent. That’s the only comment I have.”
Early Monday, Belichick called Wes Welker’s collision with New England cornerback Aqib Talib in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game “one of the worst plays I’ve seen.”
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Welker was a star receiver for the Patriots before coming to Denver this season.
Belichick delivered his unsolicited comments about one minute into his news conference at Gillette Stadium, the morning after the Broncos beat the Patriots 26-16 at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos advanced to the Super Bowl against the Seahawks on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
“It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open,” said Belichick, who usually has little of consequence to say to the media. “I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play, whatever they decide. It’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. That’s all I’ll say about that.”
The play took place in the second quarter Sunday. Early in a drive that would put the Broncos ahead 10-0, Welker broke across the middle of the field, running smack into Talib, who left with a knee injury. Talib, New England’s best cornerback, did not return.
Fox was asked again about the play, but refrained from going after Belichick.
“Like I said, I have a lot of respect for Bill and I have not seen the comment,” Fox said. “I am not going to stand up here and make comments about something I haven’t seen.”