FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington stopped himself before Denver Broncos safety Mike Adams‘ assessment of Julian Edelman became a war of words.
Adams said earlier in the week that Edelman doesn’t have Broncos receiver Wes Welker‘s “ability or quickness.” Adams also called the Patriots wideout a one-speed guy. Adams will have to deal with that second-tier ability and quickness Sunday when the Patriots travel to Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver to play the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game.
“Edelman doesn’t have what, now?” Arrington asked, clearly perturbed.
“Oh, well, I can personally — nah,” Arrington stopped himself before reverting to Patriots speak. “Julian, he’s another one of those guys — he’s a great competitor. You can tell he has that chip on his shoulder. He’s just a scrappy competitor.”
Arrington, prepared well by Patriots coach Bill Belichick, won’t stir up any controversy this week. The Patriots slot cornerback, who has competed in practice against both players since 2009, did compare Welker and Edelman’s competitive spirit, however.
“Wes is like a quiet storm, man,” Arrington said. “You have to really tick Wes off for him — if Wes is talking to you, then you’re in a trouble. When Wes starts talking, you might be in trouble.”
Arrington spent four years lining up across from Welker in practice. Arrington was signed by the Patriots in 2009, the same year Edelman was drafted, after being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Wes was a heck of a teacher,” Arrington said about their practice battles. “It was a baptism by fire, if you may.”
If there’s one big difference between Welker and Edelman (other than their salaries), it’s that Edelman is no quiet storm. Edelman is constantly jawing with opponents in games and teammates in practice.
“I would say Julian is sort of the opposite of Wes,” Arrington said, laughing about Edelman’s wordy on-field nature. “Everybody has their own game, and that’s Jules, man.”
Edelman caught 105 passes for 1,056 yards this season for New England, while Welker had 73 catches for 778 yards and 10 touchdowns for Denver. Arrington fared well against Welker in Week 12’s matchup between the Patriots and Broncos. Welker had four catches on eight targets for 31 yards against the Patriots, but he went 0 for 2 against Arrington.