NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – After nearly two weeks, New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker has finally owned up to his thinly-veiled barbs toward Jets head coach Rex Ryan during a mid-January foot-in-mouth press conference.
The Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian tracked down Welker in San Francisco on Monday, where the receiver was awaiting his flight to the NFL’s Pro-Bowl in Hawaii.
Welker told Guregian that he has “regret” for a news conference in which he made about a dozen references to toes and feet, a not-so-subtle reference to foot-fetish reports involving Ryan. Welker had kept mum on the foot-presser until now.
Ryan was embarrassed in December when foot-fetish videos that allegedly starred his wife, Michelle, were found online.
“In a sense, I do regret it,” Welker said. “As much as you might want to get enticed into that stuff, at the end of the day, it’s just not worth it.”
Welker admitted that it’s hard not to respond to the “riff-raff.”
“It’s concentrating on your job and what you do, and not concentrating on the riff-raff that goes with all that other stuff,” Welker told Guregian. “It’s about the team and going out there and playing good football, and not getting caught up in all the media hype.”
Welker was benched for the Patriots’ opening possession against the Jets on January 16, after mocking Ryan during the week. The Jets stunned New England, 28-21, eliminating the Patriots from Super Bowl contention.
“You know what, I think the best way to stick up for your teammate is on the field,” said Welker. “I like the fact we don’t get caught up in all that stuff. At the end of the day, it’s about football. That’s what it’s supposed to be about. That’s all that matters.”
Although the Patriots have long tried to cultivate a buttoned-down, businesslike personality, Welker broke character when he dropped in repeated references to “putting your best foot forward,” ”sticking your toe in the water” and “being good little foot soldiers.”
“It’s not always easy to keep a lid on it, but at the same time, there’s a greater goal,” Welker said. “That’s winning the game and playing good football. That’s what matters. All that other stuff doesn’t matter at the end of the day.”
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