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Wes Welker's hit on Aqib Talib in Sunday's AFC Championship Game didn't sit well with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond.
"It was really uncalled for," Thurmond told reporters Wednesday. "The receiver ran right into the guy. I don't know the extent of the injury Talib had, but I thought we were supposed to protect football players in this league now. I guess not. I guess that only goes one way."
The NFL cleared Welker of any wrongdoing for his hit on the New England Patriots' cornerback that proved to be a key play in the Denver Broncos' 26-16 win on Sunday.
"It was a legal hit," NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said on the NFL Network on Wednesday night.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick blasted Welker for the hit on Monday, calling it "one of the worst plays" he's seen in 39 years of coaching. Talib suffered a knee injury on the play and didn't return to the game. Belichick said in a radio interview Wednesday that he didn't believe the cornerback would have to undergo surgery, however.
Thurmond, a fourth-year player, told reporters a penalty should've been called and that Welker may have received a "star" call from the officials.
"If you're intentionally coming at somebody, it's supposed to be a flag," Thurmond said. "But they didn't throw the flag on him. Some players get away with a lot more than other players depending on status, but that's just the nature of the game."
Thurmond said the play, which is called a "rub" or "pick" when a player tries to make contact with a defender, didn't apply because Welker never lifted his head.
"Welker had his head down, like he was coming down the whole time," he said. "That should be a flag, and he should be getting fined. There's a whole bunch of things that should happen in that situation, but I don't run the NFL."
Part of a secondary nicknamed the "Legion of Boom," Thurmond knows the Seahawks will have to deal with similar plays from the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
"We play a lot of man coverage, so we know they're going to have a lot of crossing routes like that," Thurmond said. "We're preparing for that situation to occur. We know that kind of contact is going to happen because we play so much man, and we'll be ready for it."