Cornerback Aqib Talib was not seriously injured in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos, according to MassLive.com.
Talib, named to the 2013 All-Pro team, suffered no structural damage to his knee in the collision with former teammate Wes Welker. Talib left the game with what initially was announced by the Patriots as a rib injury. The Patriots said 10 minutes later Talib suffered a knee injury.
Welker said he did not intend to injure or “take out” Talib on the pick play, designed for criss-crossing receivers to slow up trailing coverage defenders.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick disagreed vehemently Monday with Welker’s innocent plea.
“I was asked about the hit on [Aqib] Talib and I feel badly for Aqib the way that play turned out,” Belichick said Monday morning at the team facility. “I went back and watched it, which I didn’t have a chance to do yesterday. I think it was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib; no attempt to get open. I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play; it’s not for me to decide, but it’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen.”
Broncos head coach John Fox said Monday that he wasn’t prepared to comment without seeing Belichick’s comments for himself. He also said he didn’t review the game film from the AFC Championship.
“I know Wes Welker is a great player, high integrity,” Fox said. “He did not do anything with intent [to injure].”
Talib is an unrestricted free agent after signing a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason. He played in 13 regular-season games, missing three with a hip injury.
Johnson leaving Patriots’ staff
Longtime New England Patriots assistant coach Pepper Johnson announced Tuesday he is leaving the organization.
Johnson has been on Bill Belichick’s staff since 2000, the head coach’s entire tenure in New England.
In a written statement to ESPN, Johnson praised Belichick, who also coached Johnson during his playing days with the New York Giants.
“Today marks a new day for me,” Johnson said. “Today is a new day full of promise and hope. It is also a day to reflect, as I embark upon a new journey. Today is the first day in 13 years that I am not a part of the New England Patriots, although I will always be a Patriot in my heart.
“Today also marks the first day in 26 years that I am not working in some capacity with one of greatest head coaches of all time, as well as my friend, Bill Belichick.
“Football is my life. From putting my body on the line, my hand in the dirt, to teaching others to do the same, this will continue for me … I have big dreams and goals and they all involve football. So as I soak in this new day and embark on wherever my new path takes me, I shall embrace this new chapter in my life.”
Johnson was the Patriots’ assistant linebackers coach in 2000, inside linebackers coach from 2001 to 2003, defensive line coach from 2004 to 2011, and linebackers coach the past two seasons.