Brady: 'Always have to know where 52 is at'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will face Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis for the final time in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, and said Wednesday he always enjoys going head to head against the future Hall of Famer.

"I said last week, it's really a pleasure to play against him," Brady said of Lewis. "He's really been so consistent over the years, and durable and tough. He's so instinctive. He doesn't take off hardly any plays, makes a ton of tackles, he's great in the pass game, he's great in the run game. He blitzes, like he did a few years ago (when he sacked Brady in a playoff game).

"Whatever they choose, he's really a playmaker for them, so they give him an opportunity to make those plays," Brady continued. "You see when he makes a play, their whole sideline gets really amped up. You always have to know where 52 is at. He's always right in the middle of the defense, but whether he's blitzing or covering or he's free in the middle of the field, you always have to take him into account."

Following the Ravens victory over the Broncos last Saturday night, a poignant moment was captured between Lewis and Peyton Manning, who squared off for the final time. It was perhaps a sign of an off-the-field relationship developed between the two players during their careers.

Brady's relationship with Lewis, however, is limited to the football field.

"I don't know that we've ever really done that," Brady said of spending time with Lewis at Pro Bowls or other events. "Just on the football field."

Nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who followed Brady at the podium, offered high praise for Lewis, with whom he shares a common bond: Both starred at the University of Miami.

"When you talk about football and especially defense, the first thing you think about is that guy," Wilfork said.