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Ryan felt Welker benching was sign of respect

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  March 22, 2011 10:22 AM

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NEW ORLEANS - Since Patriots coach Bill Belichick was the only coach to blow off this morning's session with the media, we had more time to talk to New England's favorite blowhard, Jets coach Rex Ryan.

And again, he did not disappoint.

The most newsworthy thing Ryan said in regards to the Patriots -- and there was plenty of stuff, which we'll get to -- was about Belichick's decision to bench receiver Wes Welker for the first drive of the playoff loss to the Jets.

While Ryan thought the benching had most to do with Welker going against Belichick's wishes of not taking shots at an opponent, Ryan did feel the benching was a sign of respect from Belichick.

Here are Ryan's comments on the subject:

Q: Did you take the Welker benching for those comments about you as a sign of respect to you?

It never surprised me. But, yeah, I think so.

Can you elaborate on that?

First off I was happy. (laughing) I was like, ‘Cool. Welker’s not there.’ Yeah, I would bench him too. For the whole game. For next year (laughing). But you know what’s funny? It was just something....that’s not the Patriot way of doing things. Obviously he was upset about that. But at the time I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty cool.’ You know? I thought it was kind of neat.

Trash talking between players and coaches is fair, but Welker’s comments crossed a personal line, is that fair to say?

Well, I think what happened…people don’t know this but Wes Welker and Mike Smith, who is on our staff, were college roommates. And Wes for years…Wes Welker, myself, Mike Pettine and (Mike Smith), we text and forth and ripping each other back and forth before we ever play. That’s what we do. Like, ‘Who’s going to be on me?’ ‘Ah, we’re going to put Sione Pouha on ya.’ But we have fun with each other. I just think that….trust me, we have said a lot worse to each other than what was reported. I just think he went public with those comments and I think that’s what upset Belichick.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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