DENVER - Patriots coach Bill Belichick says Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker deliberately tried to "take out" cornerback Aqib Talib when they collided in the AFC championship game.
Talib hurt his knee on the play early in the second quarter and missed the rest of the game. Denver beat New England 26-16 on Sunday to advance to the Super Bowl.
"It was one of those plays, where it was a rough play," Welker said after the game. "It wasn't a deal where I was trying to hit him or anything like that."
Belichick calls the play one of the worst he's seen and says Welker made no attempt to get open. On the play, Peyton Manning's pass to Demaryius Thomas fell incomplete.
Broncos head coach John Fox said Monday afternoon that he had not seen Belichick's comments, but he said he knows Welker.
"I know Wes Welker is a great player, with high integrity," Fox said. "I can say that we were not doing anything with intent, that’s really the only comment I have."
Welker spent the previous six years with the Patriots before signing with the Broncos before the season.
After Belichick's comments, social media lit up.
"I have nothing but love and respect for Bill Belichick, but he's absolutely wrong about Wes Welker's hit on Aqib Talib... and he knows it," tweeted NFL veteran Donte' Stallworth.
"listen, im wes welkers biggest fan and I love him, but that was totally a dirty hit on talib to take him out. #notcool," tweeted a fan named Melissa.
Welker's teammates defended him.
Broncos tight end Julius Thomas said Welker would never intentionally hurt anyone.
"The thoughts and feelings of opposing coaches definitely don't bother me," Thomas said.
See video of the play below and tell us what you think in the comments below. Mobile users, see video of the play here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZQU8nrtyL4