Jeff Garcia, Terrell Davis disagree with Bill Belichick over pick play

By Bill Bradley, contributing editor

Two former pro football players Monday countered accusations by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick that Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Walker deliberately tried to injure Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib when the two collided during Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

Belichick called it "one of the worst plays I've seen." Talib suffered a knee injury on the first-half play and was unable to return in the Broncos' 26-16 victory over the Patriots.

However, former Broncos running back Terrell Davis, appearing on NFL Network's "NFL AM," was baffled that Welker was at the center of the controversy.

"If I'm going to run a pick to try to take out somebody, I'm not using Wes," Davis said of the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Welker. "I'm going to use (tight end) Julius Thomas if I want to take out somebody. I'm going to run a real pick, a real rub.

"It's just sour grapes after the game you lost. ... Most picks or rubs are deliberate. That's the purpose of them. They're trying to get separation from your receiver and the defender. Now, did (the Broncos try) to take (Talib) out? That's a stretch."

Former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia said Belichick's anger might stem from Welker's much publicized move from the Patriots to the Broncos as a free agent last spring. Regardless, Garcia said Welker did not try to hurt Talib.

"He knows how it is," Garcia said, also on "NFL AM." "He knows how people come after him. I mean, the guy has been bouncing back from concussions over the last few weeks. He knows what it's all about, how physical this game is. I don't think he would want to put himself in harm's way in potentially injuring himself in that way.

"It's just one of those things where in a game, guys are moving fast. The speed of the game is unreal. To do a rub or get in the way of a defender, all of a sudden you get too close. Now there's contact. It was never intentional to take his knee out, to hurt Aqib Talib. It was about getting a receiver open, helping his teammate out."

Davis said he had not heard of receivers intentionally injuring defenders.

"Sometimes the play is intended for you to get separation," Davis said. "If you've got someone playing (man-to-man press defense) and he can't get separation, you want to get the (defenders) to cross so you can get them to sort of bump.

"But it's supposed to be incidental. You're supposed to run your route and not deliberately set up there and pull a basketball pick. That's what it's intended to do. But I've never heard anybody try to take someone out.

"Did he get hurt? Absolutely. Was it intentional? No. It was just like Jeff talked about. The game was moving so fast, you're running crossing routes. You look up, the next thing you know you're running into other bodies."

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