Do You Respect Patriots? Ray Lewis Gets Loud Cheers With Answer
.@RayLewis to @WhitlockJason: I don't like anything about the New England Patriots, but Tom Brady might be best QB that we have ever seen. pic.twitter.com/GY1a0Cy18M — Speak For Yourself (@SFY) February 1, 2017
As Super Bowl LI draws near, the country is deciding who it prefers to lift the next Lombardi Trophy Sunday.
It seems most people outside of New England would like to see the Atlanta Falcons come out victorious because of a "hatred" for the Patriots. The panel on Fox Sports' "Speak for Yourself" discussed whether this hatred is deserved.
Legendary Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said continually "winning draws many haters," but being involved in scandals like Spygate and Deflategate, both drawing league punishment, makes it hard for some to respect New England.
"Are you saying you don't respect the New England Patriots?" host Jason Whitlock asked Lewis.
"I don't have to respect nobody but the Baltimore Ravens," Lewis quickly rebutted, drawing cheers from the surrounding audience. "My legacy is simple. My legacy is purple. Anything else, I don't agree with. That's the bottom line."
Lewis went on to say that he has great respect for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has four Super Bowl rings and a whopping 24 postseason victories. But that doesn't mean he likes the Patriots.
"Tom Brady gets more respect from me – I'm telling you this because I've said this too many times publicly and I want to say this again publicly – to me, he might be the best quarterback that we've ever seen play this game," Lewis said. "That's factual.
"When it comes to being hated or not, it's just me, I don't like nothing about the New England Patriots. I never have. That's just me because of my culture and everything I came from. That's like me saying you want me to cheer for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It ain't going to happen."
The segment ended with the panel making their Super Bowl predictions. Do I have to tell you who Lewis picked to win it all?
What's Next For Two Popular Former Ravens After Dismissal?
About a month after firing Head Coach Rex Ryan, the Buffalo Bills announced they will not retain 14 of his assistant coaches for the 2017 season.
Among those let go was legendary Ravens safety Ed Reed, who was hired for his first coaching gig last January to be Buffalo's assistant defensive backs coach.
"He had long expressed an interest in coaching and it was hardly surprising that it was Ryan, his former defensive coordinator with the Ravens, who gave him his first opportunity," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "Ryan predicted that Reed would eventually be an NFL head coach."
So what's next for the two former Ravens, who were fan favorites after spending 21 combined seasons in Baltimore?
For those hoping either would return to Baltimore as a coaching assistant, that's unlikely at this point.
Ryan said becoming a defensive coordinator again "[doesn't interest me at all](http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/rex-ryan-nfl-future-tired-f-ked-article-1.2960277?utmcontent=bufferbaab0&utmmedium=social&utmsource=twitter.com&utmcampaign=mmehta twitter)" right now, and he plans on using at least the next season as a television analyst, he told the New York Daily News.
"The one thing about [being on TV] is that you don't lose," Ryan told the news outlet. "You'll remember every damn loss. But the wins? You don't necessarily remember. So, it takes a lot out of you. I'm tired of getting f---ed. Unless it's a real situation [as a coach], there's no sense of getting into it again."
The always bold and brash Ryan will get a taste of broadcasting life this weekend as he'll join ESPN's Super Bowl coverage team. When he was fired, four different networks - CBS, ESPN, FOX and NFL Network – reportedly reached out immediately.
After his Super Bowl cameo, Ryan will have plenty of time to contemplate his future with three years remaining on the reported five-year, $27.5 million contract that he signed with the Bills in 2015.
"I'm really not that bitter [about being fired] and maybe that $15 million is one of the reasons," said Ryan, who owns a 65-68 record as a head coach. "But I got an opportunity in front of me that a lot of guys don't get. I'm going to see where it takes me. Maybe this is a different career and I really enjoy it. I'm hoping that's the way it is. Maybe I get into and I don't like it. Maybe they don't like me. Maybe I go back to doing something I love, which is coaching. I'll never say never. I'm a young guy still. ... I'm healthy. But bitter? Nah. Not bitter, man. I'm really not.
"I don't wish [the Bills] bad will. I don't. But I don't wish them luck, either. I'll be honest: I don't wish them good luck. I don't wish them bad luck. I just don't wish them luck. I wish the Jets luck."
As for Reed, it isn't as clear what his next move will be.
Will anyone outside of Ryan give him a chance to coach again in the NFL? If not, he could coach at other levels.
Reed already dipped his toe into the broadcast pool before joining the Bills last season as an "Inside the NFL" analyst on Showtime, alongside Brandon Marshall, Boomer Esiason, Phil Simms and host Greg Gumbel. Many Ravens fans would love to see Reed return to Baltimore, but the Head Coach John Harbaugh's secondary staff already appears full.
"Harbaugh has promoted Chris Hewitt to coach the team's secondary after Frazier left following one season to become the Bills' defensive coordinator," wrote Zrebiec. "Mike MacDonald will assist Hewitt."
Former Raven Courtney Upshaw Seeking Second Super Bowl Ring
After getting his first Super Bowl ring with the Ravens four years ago, Courtney Upshaw is seeking his second as a member of the Falcons.
The Ravens drafted Upshaw out of Alabama in the second round of the 2012 draft, and he experienced Super Bowl glory as a rookie, a feat many players don't ascend to during their entire careers.
Upshaw left Baltimore after his rookie contract ended, and he signed a one-year deal with the Falcons prior to the 2016 season. The signing has turned out well for him as he's now getting another shot at a ring.
Upshaw played outside linebacker in Baltimore, but he added weight during the offseason to transition to defensive end as a down lineman.
"Upshaw had a great Super Bowl experience as a rookie, when the Ravens beat the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII," wrote CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown. "During that 2012 playoff run, the Ravens beat the Patriots in the AFC championship game. Now Upshaw is seeking another victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots on Sunday."
Jimmy Garoppolo Coming To AFC North?
Could Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo be coming to the AFC North?
The Cleveland Browns are looking for a new quarterback to lead their offense, and instead of following a long streak of drafting one in the first round and thrusting him into action Day 1, they may try a different route.
They may try to trade for Garoppolo, who showed potential after winning both games he started in place of Brady during his suspension.
"Sources say the Browns' interest in Garoppolo is real and that they'll try to trade for him depending on how their draft evaluations go over the next five weeks or so," wrote The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. "If the Browns decide to draft Mitch Trubisky or Deshaun Watson in the first round, they'll be much less likely to pursue the Patriots' backup -- but wouldn't rule it out.
"But they'll have competition for Garoppolo that will drive up the price. Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan liked him coming out of the draft, and might pursue a deal once he formally becomes the 49ers' head coach. The 49ers have the No. 2 pick in the draft, and are also looking for a quarterback."