BOSTON -- New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said he didn't think the benching of receiver Wes Welker for the first offensive posession of the game had an effect on the team's playoff loss to the Jets, but made it clear that he didn't agree with the decision.
"I don't think it was a big deal, the comments Wes said or the benching. People have opinions and in my opinion, I wouldn't have done it because of what the game meant," Wilfork said during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI on Monday. "To each his own. I'm not questioning the head man's judgment at all -- it's just my opinion."
Welker was apparently benched for comments to the press last week in which he subtly poked fun at the foot-fetish flap involving Jets coach Rex Ryan and his wife.
Wilfork added that he didn't even know Welker had been benched for the first offensive series until after the game.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, in his appearance on WEEI earlier in the day, also said that the benching wasn't a factor in the Patriots' loss.
"That has no bearing on the way that we played as a team," he said. "I think that's just, I don't know, I don't think it had any effect on the game. What has the most effect on the game is the way that we played."
But Brady acknowledged that Welker's comments were in line with his teammate's sense of humor.
"That's Wes' personality," he explained. "Wes is a very fun, positive, energetic person. With all the things that were coming out of New York, I think Wes just thought it would be funny to combat it in his own way."
"I don't think that's any reason why we lost the game," he said.