New Ring. New Contract. Same Joe Flacco.


Joe Flacco insists that not much has changed for him this offseason.

He was named the Super Bowl MVP. He signed a $120 million contract. He made the rounds on the talk show circuit.

When he walks into the Ravens' locker room, he said that the only difference for him is trying to learn the names of all his new teammates.

"The only thing that is different is I probably don't know 80 percent of the guys' names on our team at this point," Flacco joked after Wednesday's practice.  "I would say that's the only difference."

With all the roster turnover this offseason, Flacco has to get to know a whole crop of new teammates. Plus, the expanded 90-man roster during the summer months brings in an influx of rookies that are constantly changing.

Other than the challenge of learning a whole bunch of new names, it's basically business as usual for the six-year veteran. He has a bigger bank account and a Super Bowl ring coming his way, but that hasn't made his mindset any different.

"I honestly don't think too much about the contract. When I think about it, it's all good," Flacco said. "I don't have a Super Bowl ring yet, but I guess in a couple of weeks I will, and when I think about that it's all good. But those things, I can honestly say aren't things I think about every day and affect the way I come in here and perform or anything like that."

Head Coach John Harbaugh has seen the same Flacco this offseason as in years past.

"One thing about Joe: Nothing is going to change Joe," Harbaugh said. "Joe is going to be who he is. I don't think a change in the roster is going to change Joe, who he is. A change in the contract isn't going to change Joe. Joe is Joe, and that's what you love about him."

One of the big questions heading into this season is who would fill the leadership void in the locker room with Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin, Bernard Pollard and Matt Birk all gone. Flacco has been a leader throughout his career, but pundits have questioned whether he'd have to be more in the forefront now that he's become the face of the franchise.

Harbaugh doesn't see that as necessary.

"Joe has been a great leader," he said. "Joe has done a great job throughout his career in his own way."

Flacco has said on numerous occasions that winning the Super Bowl and signing a big contract hasn't changed his expectations for himself or made him feel like he needs to alter his approach. He plans to be the same kind of leader and player that he has been throughout his career, and said the Ravens will still have a strong locker room despite losing key pieces.

"You have so many guys that are very responsible and know how to go to work, and I think that's why we've been able to continuously have success, even though our team has changed a lot, is because all of those guys that have been there before us really show us how to do it," Flacco said. "Then everybody just kind of takes that lead. And I think that's where we are. I think that's where I am."

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