Patriots' Wes Welker doesn't start

Updated: January 16, 2011, 10:06 PM ET
ESPNBoston.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England receiver Wes Welker sat out the Patriots' first offensive series in Sunday's playoff game against the Jets amid reports that he was benched for mocking New York coach Rex Ryan during the week.

Following the Patriots' 28-21 season-ending loss to the Jets, Welker discussed being benched for the team's first possession of the game.

"I don't feel anything [about the benching]," said Welker, who made 11 foot references during a news conference Thursday. "I was just ready for the opportunity to play and help the team win. That's a coach's decision, the game plan. You can ask the coach about that stuff. I'm not going to really comment on that stuff.

"We've always respected the Jets. They have a good football team."

When asked about the benching, which was first reported on the CBS game broadcast, coach Bill Belichick had only this to say after the game: "I don't have any comment on that."

Welker received a punt after the Jets' opening drive stalled. But when the Patriots' offense took the field, Julian Edelman was lined up at receiver.

New England's opening drive ended when David Harris picked off Tom Brady. Welker was back in the game for the Patriots' second possession.

In meeting with reporters Thursday, Welker made more than a dozen references to toes and feet, a not-so-subtle reference to recent foot-fetish reports involving Ryan and his wife.

Welker's dig was part of a week's worth of trash talk between the Patriots and Jets, most of it coming from the New York side. In response to Welker's comments, Jets defensive back Bart Scott threatened Welker in comments to Newsday.

"Be very careful what you say about our coach," Scott said. "His [Welker's] days in a uniform will be numbered. Put it like that."

After Sunday's game, Scott didn't have much of a reaction to the benching.

"I know you would like to say that this is like the 'Young and the Restless' and I pay attention to what's going on there, but I could care less," Scott said. "All I do is play whoever comes out there."

However, he also wasn't backing down from his original comments.

"I stand behind my words and if I get another opportunity for him to come through the middle, I'm going to try and put him through the ground," the linebacker told Boston sports radio station WEEI.

Information from ESPNBoston.com's Steven Krasner and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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