Former New England wide receiver Wes Welker added context to a story that exploded last week about the Patriots possibly being in possession of the New York Jets' playbook, saying that playful banter between friends might have sparked the media firestorm.
Welker said that he used to joke with Jets assistant coach Mike Smith often. Welker and Smith were best friends from their time together at Texas Tech, and quarterback Tom Brady got in on the act at Welker's wedding in 2012.
"We used to always make stuff up with each other. Tom got to know Mike as well," Welker said Friday morning on Boston radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub.
"[Mike] used to say 'So and so will cover you in the game. No, actually we're going to double-team you.' So I'd make stuff up, 'Oh, this is our game plan going into it.' Every once in a while you [say] something true just to throw them off. And [you'd] say 'Is that true? Would they do that?'
"It was just playing mind games a little bit."
Those mind games apparently made it back to the Jets' facility with former defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, now in his first year as Cleveland Browns head coach. Pettine's remarks to TheMMQB.com as part of a larger story on his coaching philosophy, in which he suggested the Patriots may have a copy of the Jets' playbook based off a story he was told from Welker's wedding, set off a media frenzy last week.
Pettine later explained his remarks to Pro Football Talk, while Jets coach Rex Ryan backed Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. The value of a team having an opponent's playbook has since been debated in media circles.
As for Welker, whose radio appearance Friday was part of a business-related venture, he said he was unaware if the Patriots ever had a copy of the Jets' playbook.
Asked if it would matter, he said, "Every little bit helps. I don't know. It might a little bit."