Joe Flacco is the unquestioned cornerstone of the Ravens.
He's the reigning Super Bowl MVP and the NFL's highest paid player. He's becoming the face of the franchise, especially with the retirement of future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.
But even with all the fame, money and accolades being thrown Flacco's way, he's not feeling any more pressure heading into next season.
"I think if you start to try to do too much, you're going to be the one that falters and makes mistakes," Flacco said during Monday's press conference.
During his five years in the NFL, Flacco has earned his reputation as "Joe Cool."
Teammates and coaches routinely say that Flacco is never too high or too low, and that he's remarkably unchanged by the magnitude of the moment. That demeanor played a big role in Flacco leading the Ravens to a Super Bowl XLVII victory and ultimately getting his record payday.
Flacco has already proven that his approach and work ethic fit exactly what the Ravens want in their franchise quarterback. That's why General Manager Ozzie Newsome said yesterday that "Joe's a Raven in his style of play, the way he works and prepares, and the way he lives his life."
"There's a reason that I'm standing up here at this point," Flacco said. "It's because what I've done so far has been the right thing. I think it'd be a bad move to do anything else."
Flacco arguably had more pressure last season after turning down a contract from the Ravens and taking the risk that he would avoid injury and get a bigger deal in the future. Flacco was playing for his payday and to get over the AFC championship hump, and he performed his best in the biggest situations.
"Last year was probably more pressure than already getting to this point," Flacco said. "I think now it's all about getting the team back and getting them healthy and getting to where we can put that work in and get back to where we were this year."
With Lewis retiring and fellow veteran leader Ed Reed potentially leaving in free agency, more of the leadership responsibility in the locker room could fall on Flacco's shoulders. He's always welcomed the job of being a leader, saying the starting quarterback inherently has to lead the offense, but his style is much different from players like Lewis.
Flacco isn't one for theatrical pre-game dances or emotional speeches. He's much more mellow, and has his own ways of challenging and pushing his teammates.
And now that he has a $120.6 million contract to his name, he doesn't plan on changing his approach.
"I'm going to be who I am, and I'm going to continue to get better every year and continue to get my guys better around me," he said. "But other than those things, other than continuing to push my teammates and myself, you are going to do everything the same."