Since Ray Lewis announced his pending retirement yesterday, the Ravens have been all over the news. Bill Belichick hurled praise at the 17-year linebacker yesterday and today was Tom Brady's turn.
"He was -- he still is an incredible player and a competitor," said the Patriots' quarterback before Thursday's practice. "Like I said, I know so many people that have said so many things about him, in terms of guys that have played with him. They can probably speak to him the best. But it was a privilege to play against him."
Brady was reminded of a quarterback sneak in Lewis' face that went for a touchdown in last year's AFC Championship game, in which he dove up and over to the ground before Lewis could stuff him at the goal line.
"I always enjoy beating the Ravens," said Brady. "So, yeah, anytime I can beat those guys. They got us once this year. There's nobody that's played that position better than him."
So, in context it was much more of a sign of respect than the trash talk that the headlines suggest. Still, Brady hasn't exactly shied away from trash talking the Ravens in the past.
Brady had this to say back in 2010
"We play those guys a lot and they’ve only beat us once," said Brady on WEEI. "They talk a lot for only beating us once in nine years.”
The numbers have changed a bit since then as the Ravens beat the Patriots one more time. The Patriots are currently 7-2 against the Ravens having lost this past year. Brady is 5-2.
The rivalry between the Patriots and Ravens has grown into a pretty good one, and while Ray Lewis leaving isn't likely to change that, it would be cool to face him one more time and potentially in his last game on the team. Personally, I'm kind of rooting for it.