Calvin Johnson anticipates testing Elam

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Earlier this week, in the middle of praising Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Baltimore Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam did something that caught Johnson’s attention.

He kind of called him old.

This, of course, was surprising to the 28-year-old Johnson, who usually doesn’t listen to what others say about him. Johnson said on Friday he didn’t even know who Elam was until this week.

“Don’t make nothing of it, you know,” Johnson said. “I don’t have time to make something out of every time somebody says something. Sometimes you just need to know when to keep your mouth shut, but, you know, he’s a rookie. He’ll learn.”

As for when he’ll learn, Johnson is hoping that is Monday night when the Lions face the Ravens on national television in a game both teams need to keep their playoff hopes going in a positive direction.

And Johnson said he is pretty sure he’ll end up seeing Elam at least once as he figures quarterback Matthew Stafford will test Elam with Johnson at least once on a deep ball.

Elam’s comments might also have been poorly timed because of Johnson’s previous games against players who have slighted him. Earlier this year, Dallas receiver Dez Bryant made some news by saying essentially he could do everything Johnson could.

That Sunday, Johnson had the best single-game receiving performance in regulation in NFL history and the second-best game overall, catching 14 passes for 329 yards.

So even as he shrugs these things off, he admit that they're motivation.

“It’s motivation but it also comes from somebody that I’m not playing,” Johnson said. “I’m playing him but I see him, like I say, if I run past him on the field or something like that. It’s not like he lines up on me every play.”

No, that job now falls to Baltimore’s cornerbacks, who will see a motivated Calvin Johnson on Monday night.