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Rex Ryan 'glad' Wes Welker no longer with Patriots

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan's friendly rivalry with former New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker runs deeper than the receiver's playoff-game benching for referencing Ryan's now infamous foot fetish.

Ryan once revealed that the two often trade barbs via text message in the days leading up to Jets-Patriots games.

"We text back and forth and rip each other back and forth before we ever play," Ryan said. "But we have fun with each other. Trust me, we've said a lot worse to each other than what was reported."

At the league meetings in Phoenix Tuesday, Ryan expressed relief that he will no longer have to face Welker twice a year in AFC East matchups, now that Welker has signed on with the Denver Broncos.

"I'm just glad Wes Welker isn't there. I hated Wes Welker. I'm kidding ... kind of," Ryan said. "Actually, I'm a huge fan of Wes Welker. He had historical success. That's some big shoes for (Amendola) to fill."

Don't expect Welker to touch that "shoes" comment.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling

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