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Report: Aqib Talib (knee) has no structural damage

The Wes Welker hit that knocked Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib out of Sunday's AFC title game was the final straw for New England's defense against Peyton Manning.

The Denver Broncos quarterback ripped through the Patriots secondary for 400 yards, ending New England's season in the process with Talib watching on from the sideline.

While coach Bill Belichick slammed Welker's handiwork as a "deliberate" hit and "one of the worst plays I've seen," Talib reportedly has escaped major injury.

Nick Underhill of MassLive.com wrote Tuesday that the cornerback suffered no structural damage to the knee and was "just banged up," according to a source.

That's the best news possible for Talib, who becomes a free agent in March. While a hip injury slowed him this season, he's easily New England's best cornerback and the team reportedly has some interest in re-signing him. A clean bill of health would make an extension far less complicated.

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