Welker regrets 'foot' comments about Ryan


Welker regrets 'foot' comments about Ryan

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker told the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian that he regrets poking fun at Jets coach Rex Ryan in his midweek press conference prior to the New England-New York playoff game, saying, "As much you might want to get enticed into that stuff, at the end of the day, its just not worth it."

Welker was benched by coach Bill Belichick for the first series of the game, reportedly because of the comments. (Welker made 10 references to feet or toes in speaking to reporters, oblique mentions of Ryan's foot fetish, in response to the Jets' relentless, sometimes-obscene trash talking of the Pats in the runup to the game.) Neither Belichick nor Welker would discuss the benching after the game.

But Welker, when asked if he regretted it, said, "Yeah, sure I do."

He added: "Im not going to get into any details about it, but I dont think its worth putting Belichick in that situation . . .

"You know what, I think the best way to stick up for your teammate is on the field. I like the fact we dont get caught up in all that stuff. At the end of the day, its about football. Thats what its supposed to be about. Thats all that matters. Its concentrating on your job and what you do, and not concentrating on the riff-raff that goes with all that other stuff. Its about the team and going out there and playing good football. And not getting caught up in all the media hype. Its just not worth it.

"Its not always easy to keep a lid on it, but at the same time, theres a greater goal, and thats winning the game and playing good football. Thats what matters. All that other stuff doesnt matter at the end of the day."

But when asked if he was happy the Jets were beaten by the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game and failed to make the Super Bowl, Welker -- who, according to Guregian, "carefully chose his answer" -- repsonded with a smile: "I think if you're a Patriot fan, a little bit."

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Brady not concerned with Bills attempts at bullying this time around


Brady not concerned with Bills attempts at bullying this time around

FOXBORO -- The last time the Patriots and Bills met, things were feisty from the jump.

Patriots rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett was shoved by Bills defensive back Robert Blanton as Brissett jogged by Buffalo's warmups. That prompted Patriots receiver Malcolm Mitchell to stop and get in Blanton's face. From there, Patriots coaches did what they could to break it up, but there was continued shoving back and forth until the two sides could be separated. 

Days later, Blanton -- as well as corner Nickell Robey-Coleman and safety Aaron Williams -- were fined for unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct. 

Would that have occurred had Tom Brady not been suspended? Probably not. Brady was asked about that incident on Wednesday, and whether it spoke to the "bully" mentality that coach Rex Ryan has worked to foster during his tenure in Buffalo. 
"Yeah, I think it’s more so what we do when the game kicks off as opposed to what happens before the game or during the week," Brady replied. "You get into a bunch of trash talk and you know us, we’ve never got into that stuff because in the end, it’s just a big waste of energy.

"You focus on the things you need to do to help the team win, and that’s to play well and execute and spend your time on what’s going to happen from the point when the game kicks off to when it ends. That’s where our focus is, that’s where it always will be. We’ll go in there, we’ll be focused, we’ll be ready to go, and we’ll go out there and try to play a lot better than the last time we played them."

Brady's comments that the Patriots have "never got into" trash talk is a head-scratcher -- he's jawed back and forth with opponents on plenty of occasions during his career -- but his point stands: That stuff probably isn't helping anyone. 

Once the ball is kicked on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Brady will have to contend with a defense that shut out the shorthanded Patriots at Gillette Stadium for the first time in the building's history. He'll also have one of the more raucous crowds in the league buzzing in his earhole.
"They’re just into it," Brady said of Buffalo fans. "I mean, they’re into it from the first quarter all the way to the last; from pregame warmups to the end of the game. I think it challenges your communication, so we practice – and we played, last week was pretty loud. We’ve played in a lot of loud stadiums and Buffalo is definitely one of the tops.

"I think the thing that is most challenging is when they’re making plays and sacking the quarterback and turnovers like they’ve been getting a lot of this year. That’s what really kind of gets them amped up."


Lewis not at Patriots practice; Van Noy works out with linebackers


Lewis not at Patriots practice; Van Noy works out with linebackers

FOXBORO -- Though Dion Lewis is expected to practice this week, he was not on the field with teammates Wednesday.

Lewis was eligible to begin practicing last week but remained sidelined. On Wednesday morning, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that the Patriots running back would be on the field this week. Once Lewis does begin practicing, the team will have three weeks to determine whether or not he is activated. 

Newly acquired Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy was present for his first practice in New England about 24 hours after being dealt by the Lions. The 6-foot-3, 243-pounder was working out with Patriots off-the-ball linebackers (Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Elandon Roberts) to begin the session. 

The Patriots have parted ways with practice-squad offensive lineman Chase Farris, it appears. His spot on the 10-man practice-squad unit has been taken by defensive lineman Anthony Johnson.