FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Taking umbrage with a reporter's suggestion that he was nearing the end of his career, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis spent much of his conference call to the New England media defending how much he has left in the tank (highlighted by Lewis, 34, ranting about how players like Brett Favre and Brian Dawkins have excelled at advanced ages).
When focused on the task at hand, Sunday's wild card matchup in New England, Lewis got worked up again when asked if the Ravens had the potential to pounce given the Patriots' injury woes with receiver Wes Welker (left knee) out for Sunday's game and quarterback Tom Brady nursing a variety of ailments.
“I think sometimes that’s the biggest set up ever,” said Lewis. “You look at all the great ones, man, going back through the years, every time you say they’re hurt, they come out and have their best games. Forget all that with the, 'Who’s hurt, who’s not?' If you have a uniform on, we understand you’re playing full throttle, you're playing just like who you are.
“We don’t even get caught up into that. ‘Oh, Tom has this, let’s try to do this, let’s try to do that.’ As soon as you try to do that and leave people man-on-man, then he hurts you. Then he’s so heroic because he did it all with three broken ribs and a finger. Forget all that. Bottom line, if he’s suited up, he’s ready to play, so let's play."
Lewis noted that, while rookie receiver Julian Edelman doesn't have the chemistry that Welker boasts with Brady, the Patriots have long thrived off the ability to simply insert backups and not lose anything in the way of production.