FOXBORO, Mass. — Wes Welker will have to wait to find out if the NFL will come down on him for his game-altering hit in the AFC Championship Game.
The NFL will not decide whether to fine the Denver Broncos receiver until the end of the week, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Welker delivered a big hit on New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib with 13:36 left in the second quarter of Sunday’s Broncos win. Patriots coach Bill Belichick made a stink about Welker’s hit during the coach’s Monday morning press conference.
“I think it was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib — no attempt to get open,” Belichick said. “I?ll let the league handle the discipline on that play. It?s not for me to decide, but it?s one of the worst plays I?ve seen.”
There’s a debate whether Welker’s hit was even illegal. The block came moments before quarterback Peyton Manning‘s throw reached its intended target, receiver Demaryius Thomas. Talib was injured on the play and did not return to the game.
The rule reads as follows:
“If the contact occurs as ball is being touched, there is no offensive pass interference. When it happens all at the same time — the ball being touched and contact elsewhere — it is not a foul. The contact has to be clearly before the ball is touched for it to draw a flag.”
Welker was not flagged on the play. The Broncos have run similar pick plays all year.
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