Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib had a little fun Monday, recalling how angry Rob Gronkowski became when no flag was thrown on an end zone pass Talib broke up.
Gronkowski, the New England Patriots star tight end, berated the back judge after Tom Brady’s pass hit the ground.
“(Brady) threw it up and I got higher than Gronk if you look at it,” Talib recalled. “Check the TV copy. I got higher. He threw it up, I got higher than him, and I was able to break it up.”
So it was an appropriate no-call?
“No call. I didn’t think I held him,” Talib said, sounding playful. “Did you think I held him? I didn’t think I held him.”
Gronkowski got very demonstrative in his argument to the back judge, so Talib was asked if he heard any of the conversation.
“We had conversations. They push off, we might grab, so we both were having conversations with the back judge all day long,” Talib said. “That was just part of the game.”
Ware’s eloquence: Broncos coach Gary Kubiak chose 11-year veteran linebacker DeMarcus Ware to address the team before the AFC Championship Game. Kubiak and others found Ware’s speech most impressive.
“I thought he was the perfect guy for the situation with what he’s been through in his career. I think a lot of young guys don’t realize,” Kubiak said.
“They look at him, his career, his success, but yet they had no idea that he had ever played in a championship game. They had no idea that he had only won two playoff games. I thought it was a good message for him to talk about enjoying the moment, understanding the situation and taking advantage of the situation. He did a great job.”
Ware’s words had big impact, Talib said.
“It was goosebumps. That was probably one of the best pregame speeches that I’ve heard,” Talib said.
“Right after the meeting, I said, ‘We need to do that meeting like right before we get dressed for the game.’ (safety) T.J. [Ward] saying, ‘It doesn’t matter. I’m going to feel it in the morning.’ It really touched everybody. You could see everybody was focused. That’s what D-Ware does. He speaks from his heart and his message was definitely felt.”
Old fox: Much of the credit for the Broncos’ great defense this season has gone to veteran coordinator Wade Phillips, 68, who was semi-retired when Kubiak offered him the job. Did it take much to talk Phillips into accepting?
“No, he was ready to go,” Kubiak said. “We talked numerous times. Wade made the comment, ’I’m going to be coaching somewhere next year,’ in one of the first times we talked. I’m just excited for him. What a job he’s done. He’s had a great career. I got to spend some time with him and his family after the game last night, so we’re happy for him and where he is right now.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell