FOXBORO -- As soon as Patriots receiver Wes Welker said it's nice to stick a great on-field performance "in Bill Belichick's face," he probably knew it was a mistake. No matter how innocent his intentions may or may not have been.
Welker let the quip fly Sunday night after catching 13 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown against Denver.
By early Monday evening, his regret was forced on display.
"It was a joke," he told reporters. "I don't know what else to say about it. It was a joke.
"Bill and I, whether y'all believe it or not, have a good relationship. It was a joke and I'll make sure to keep that in house going forward."
He punctuated that last sentence with an eye roll.
Some will argue Welker should have known better. He got benched in 2010's divisional playoff against the Jets after making 11 references to Rex Ryan's alleged foot fetish in a press conference.
And he might remember teammate Tom Brady saying, "I'm not joking any more this year" in 2011 after his previous week's instruction for Patriots fans to get "lubed up" and rowdy for a home game turned into a PR nightmare.
"You've just got to be careful with what you say," Welker said, a look of annoyance alighting on his features. "Bill does a great job of challenging us and being a great coach and doing things necessary that he needs to do. I made a joke about it and it won't happen again."
As for any fallout -- another benching, maybe -- Welker said he's not expecting repercussions from the coach.
"I don't think so at all. We're just concentrating on Seattle this week and getting ready for the game."