League deems Welker hit on Pats’ Talib legal

Updated: January 22, 2014, 8:47 PM ET

Mike Reiss | ESPN.com

NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino has spared Denver Broncos receiver Wes Welker of any wrongdoing for his hit on New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

“It was a legal hit,” Blandino said on the NFL Network on Wednesday night.

On Monday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick blasted Welker for the hit, calling it “one of the worst plays” he’s seen in 39 years of coaching.

“It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open,” Belichick said, never mentioning Welker, the former Patriots receiver, by name. “I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play.”

There will be no discipline, as Blandino said Wednesday it wasn’t a penalty.

“The first potential foul would be for offensive pass interference; a receiver can’t block downfield before the ball is touched, so the timing is important,” he said. “The contact occurs, the ball is touched almost simultaneously. We don’t have a foul for pass interference.

“The other thing, is it unnecessary roughness? Under the current rules it isn’t. It’s not late; Talib wasn’t out of the play. Unfortunately there was an injury, so just like in other situations when an injury does occur, the competition committee will take a look at this and determine if there needs to be a change. But under the current rules, this is a legal play.”

Talib injured his knee on the play, left the game and did not return as the Patriots lost, 26-16.

Blandino said he has communicated with Belichick about the play.

“We talked about the situation and the play, and obviously there is a difference of opinion there and something that we’ll continue to look at during the offseason,” he said.

  • Covered Patriots since 1997
  • Joined ESPN in 2009

Leave a comment

300-101   400-101   300-320   300-070   300-206   200-310   300-135   300-208   810-403   400-050   640-916   642-997   300-209   400-201   200-355   352-001   642-999   350-080   MB2-712   400-051   C2150-606   1Z0-434   1Z0-146   C2090-919   C9560-655   642-647   100-101   CQE_Exam   CSSLP