Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson laughed when asked for his thoughts on
But it was clear the comments have put a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
“I’m getting old, man,” the 28-year-old Johnson said with a chuckle. “It’s all good though. I’ll show him what that old-man strength is about."
The last time an opponent (Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant) made newsworthy about Johnson, the man nicknamed “Megatron” went off with 329 receiving yards. Johnson was asked if Elam’s comments will fire him up more.
“I don’t need motivation, but anything negative that comes at me throughout the week, you just take it, put [it] in that box for motivation and use it on Sunday,” Johnson said.
Elam made waves with the comments on Wednesday. He described Johnson as big, fast, athletic and unstoppable, but also added more, per the Associated Press:
"He's pretty old, so I don't know how physical he'll be," Elam said. "He's a big guy, but he's older. I guess when they get older they're not going to be as physical, you know what I'm saying? We're going to have to be physical, make him uncomfortable.”
Elam later tweeted, “I will never disrespect greatness...”
Reporters were surprised by the comment, especially coming from somebody that likely won’t match up directly against Johnson.
“It doesn’t surprise me because he doesn’t have to see me on the field, so he can talk all he wants,” Johnson said. “I don’t see him every play unless I run past him, so I’m not worried about it.”
Johnson didn’t end the conference call without taking a shot of his own, however.
He was asked to give his take on the Ravens safeties, specifically Elam. He said Elam does a good job with his eyes, but that if they can get them looking the wrong way, the Lions can make plays.
“Just safeties,” Johnsons aid. “Nothing extraordinary. They’re definitely guys we can make plays on.”
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh was not a fan of what Elam said.
First he joked that everybody seems old to the 22-year-old Elam, but then said he hopes he learns from this.
“I don’t appreciate it. It doesn’t help us,” Harbaugh said. “You get a guy like Calvin Johnson all fired up, that’s really not the idea. … I don’t think they needed that to get fired up. But we didn’t need to give it to them, either.”
The general perception in the Ravens locker room was that both teams will be fired up regardless of any pregame comments.
“Matt’s excited for the game,” safety
“No matter what’s talked on either side, come Monday that’s when the game is played. Megatron, he’s been playing awesome all year. I doubt some comment like that would motivate him anymore. On our end, we’re motivated.”
“Would you think Calvin Johnson’s going to come to a Monday night game on national TV and not play his best game anyways because a rookie said something?” Smith said. “I doubt it.”