MIAMI — Wes Welker fielded questions on all manner of topics Monday during Super Bowl LIV Opening Night.
Among them: the time Bill Belichick benched him for the first series of a New England Patriots playoff game. Welker’s crime? Needling then-New York Jets coach Rex Ryan by making a series of foot-related references during a mid-week news conference.
Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston asked Welker, now the San Francisco 49ers’ wide receivers coach, if Belichick ever pulled him aside to scold him for that stunt.
“Oh yeah, absolutely,” Welker said. “… It wasn’t good. It wasn’t good. He basically told me I’m going to be benched, and I was like, ‘OK. I’m sorry.’ You always run into things like that. It is what it is. But all learning experiences.”
.@tomecurran: “Did (Bill Belichick) ever pull you aside for the foot thing and talk to you?”
Wes Welker: “Oh yeah, absolutely. … It wasn’t good.” pic.twitter.com/k1WAhMGMuM
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) January 28, 2020
“You never know where the third rail’s going to come up,” Curran said.
“You really don’t,” Welker replied. “That’s why I like my (receivers) being themselves.”
The Patriots wound up losing that playoff game, 28-21 at home to Ryan’s Jets, in one of the largest postseason upsets of the Belichick era. Welker caught seven passes on nine targets for 57 yards after sitting out New England’s opening possession.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images