New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Ryan Says Pats Benching of Welker in the Playoffs was a Sign of “Respect”

Jets coach Rex Ryan liked the fact that Wes Welker wasn’t on the field for the start of the divisional playoff game in New England between the Pats and Jets, and told ESPN that it was a sign of respect that the Pats sat Welker after his outlandish comments in regards to Ryan during the week leading up to the game.

On multiple levels, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan was pleased to see Wes Welker standing on the sideline when the New England Patriots’ offense took the field in their second-round playoff game. Patriots coach Bill Belichick punished Welker for making 11 foot-related comments in a nine-minute news conference. The remarks were thinly veiled references to fetish videos, purportedly starring Ryan’s wife, that surfaced during the season. The Jets shocked the Patriots with a 28-21 victory in Gillette Stadium. “First off, I was happy,” Ryan said, laughing, Tuesday morning at the NFL coaches breakfast, which is part of the annual owners meeting. “I was, like, ‘Cool! Welker’s not there!’ Yeah, I would bench him, too. I would bench him for the whole game. Bench him next year.” In seriousness, Ryan viewed the gesture as a sign of respect from Belichick. “It never surprised me,” Ryan said. “It’s not the Patriot way of doing things. So [Belichick] was upset about that. At the time, I was, like, that’s pretty cool. It was kind of neat.”

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