At his Friday introductory press conference with the Denver Broncos, Joe Flacco was asked how he learned the Ravens had traded him. Flacco said he received a phone call while driving from Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta.
Flacco figured that he was going to be traded at some point, but he was anxious about it, so he didn't answer. He let it go to voicemail.
"I figured they'd leave a message. Two seconds later, I got a call from Eric DeCosta," Flacco said. "I quickly realized within the first 10 seconds of the conversation he was about to tell me where I was going. And when he finally said Denver Broncos, me and my wife looked at each other as I was driving and just had big smiles on our faces."
Flacco won't forget that moment, nor will he forget the 11 seasons he spent as the Ravens' franchise quarterback, which including winning Super Bowl XLVII and being named its MVP, and establishing himself as the greatest quarterback in Ravens history. Now Flacco has begun a new chapter in his career, but he of course got several questions Friday about his departure from Baltimore.
As usual, Flacco was honest. As much as he loved playing in Baltimore, as a competitor, Flacco found it difficult sitting on the bench down the stretch, and for one playoff game, last season when Lamar Jackson took over as the starting quarterback.
"If I have to reflect back on that time in Baltimore, it was not very fun," Flacco said. "It was miserable, sitting there on the bench, not being able to contribute, not really feeling like you're a part of the team. But if that's what it takes to be in this situation right now, to be as excited about it as I am and my family is, then that's what it takes."
Flacco said is was driven to play well for the Broncos next season, not because the Ravens traded him, but because he has not lost his love for the game.
"Being in Baltimore for as long as I was and not being there anymore and how it ended, obviously there's probably going to be a portion of that that motivates me," Flacco said. "But if I was relying on things like that to motivate me, that'd probably last for one week. My motivation really comes from wanting to be the best.
"I'm driven because this is what I love to do. I love playing football. I want to be the best at what I do. I'm really not trying to think too much about my past and why I'm here. I'm really just trying to be excited for the fact that I am here."
At age 34, Flacco believes he has plenty of quality football remaining. While the Broncos won't play the Ravens during the 2019 regular season, Flacco plans to be Denver's starting quarterback for many years to come.
"With Tom Brady, quarterbacks are playing now until they're about 60 years old," Flacco said. "I'm as healthy as I've ever been. I'm not putting a number on how much time I got left to play. I want to play as long as I can. Hopefully they're dragging me out of this building a long time from now."