Flacco wonders what Elam was thinking

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco expressed a sentiment shared by many after safety Matt Elam called Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson "pretty old."

"You just kind of look at him and say, 'Dude, what are you thinking? It's Calvin Johnson,'" Flacco said in a conference call Thursday with Detroit reporters. "It's kind of just funny that he put himself in a situation like that."

Elam's remarks have become the biggest storyline heading into a "Monday Night Football" game that has serious playoff implications for the Ravens (7-6) and the Lions (7-6). Flacco said he kind of shook his head at the comment, and you get the feeling that coach John Harbaugh did the same thing.

"I don't appreciate it. It doesn't help us," Harbaugh said. "Get a guy like Calvin Johnson all fired up, that's not really the idea."

Harbaugh added, "I don't think they needed that to get fired up. But we didn't need to give it to them either."

The prevailing theme from the Ravens is that Elam is a young player who didn't mean to disrespect one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

"I think everybody's old to Matt Elam," Harbaugh said. "Matt's pretty young. Hopefully, he learns from his opportunity to speak to the media."

The Ravens player most affected by Elam's comments is cornerback Jimmy Smith, who will line up against Johnson on Monday night.

"Honestly, it doesn't bother me," Smith said. "Would you think that Calvin Johnson is not going to come to a Monday night game on national TV and not [play] his best game anyway because a rookie said something? I doubt it."

Smith joked that Elam thinks he's old at 25.

"If they're going to take it as poster board and 'we're going to play even harder now,' then they didn't have the right mentality coming in to play Monday night," Smith said.