Even though the NFL has ruled that Wes Welker did nothing wrong on the hit that took out Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib last Sunday, there are still those who didn't like it.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn't appreciate it, calling it one of the worst plays he has seen. And neither did Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond, who will see Welker and the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Thurmond's comments, which come from WEEI, indicate he thinks that Welker, one of the NFL's biggest stars at receiver, got away with hitting Talib on a pass play because of who he is.
“If you’re intentionally coming at somebody, it’s supposed to be a flag,” Thurmond said. “But they didn’t throw the flag on him. Some players get away with a lot more than other players depending on status, but that’s just the nature of the game.”
Added Thurmond: “Welker had his head down, like he was coming down the whole time. That should be a flag, and he should be getting fined. There’s a whole bunch of things that should happen in that situation, but I don’t run the NFL.”
The play, in which one receiver impedes the defensive back to help his teammate get open (a "pick play" or "rub route" or whatever you wish to call it) is common in the NFL and is rarely penalized. New England was called for offensive pass interference on a similar play in Sunday's game, before Welker collided with Talib and injured his knee. The NFL ruled that the ball got to Demaryius Thomas at about the same time Welker hit Talib, so it wasn't pass interference, and that Welker didn't deserve an unnecessary roughness call either. Welker didn't address reporters on Thursday.
Broncos coach John Fox seemed a bit surprised and perturbed that the issue keeps getting brought up.
"It's a football play," Fox said after practice on Thursday. "It's a play we utilized and just about every offense in the National Football League utilizes."
The Broncos are going to do the same type of plays on Super Bowl Sunday, because everyone does. Thurmond said the Seahawks are ready for them.
“We’re preparing for that situation to occur," Thurmond said. We know that kind of contact is going to happen because we play so much man, and we’ll be ready for it.”
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