DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
On whether he plans to seek out WR Hines Ward during pregame:"I haven't thought about it. *(Reporter interjects: "Remember, he had some comments about the pregame handshake last time?") *Do I remember? I can't really remember that. I have nothing opposed to shaking anybody's hand before the game. I'll be looking forward to it."
On whether he has any reaction to OLB Terrell Suggs' T-shirt from yesterday:"No. No reaction."
On whether the best way to stave off an aggressive defense is to let the running backs catch balls out of the backfield:"I don't know if it's the best way. I mean, it's part of it, no question about it. You want to be able to check it down, and yeah, you've got Ray Rice, and Willis McGahee can catch the ball out of the backfield very well. Le'Ron [McClain] has proven that [too]. I think Rashard Mendenhall is a threat, and Mewelde Moore is a tremendous receiving back. So, those guys are definitely going to be a factor in that sense. You've got to know where they're at at all times. When the play starts to break down, they slide away from the protection and make plays on both sides, so that's a big part of it."
On why he believes it's the Ravens' turn to win at Heinz Field:"I was just saying… The question was [that] Ben [Roethlisberger] has won a bunch in a row, so I guess it's our turn. That was the question."
On whether he feels like it's overdue:"No, I just think it's [that] every game stands on its own two feet. That was the point; it was like tongue-in-cheek. Do you guys not understand tongue-in-cheek and humor? It gets lost in print, I guess, with the media. This game will be what it is based on this game. It'll be 60 minutes, played at 4:30 on Saturday, and the team that plays the best will win. And all the other stuff, really, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't. But it's fun to talk about and write about; I get it. But it doesn't matter."
On whether he's taken a large part in dealing with the emotions of the S Ed Reed situation this week or if he's left that mostly up to the players:"I think everybody has a part in dealing with it. You're on a team, and we deal with things, and we go through things. You've got relationships on a team, so I think everybody gets involved to whatever extent they have a relationship with that person to different degrees. And, I'm a part of that as much as anybody. But it's always a team thing."
On the reaction he has seen from Reed and his teammates this week: "I just think he's been great. He's dealing with a lot, obviously, more than you'd wish on anybody. He's just been a real pro. He's been here at work every day. He's been leading. He's been teaching like he always does, and he's getting himself ready to play. But, he's carrying that with him, certainly."
On CB Chris Carr: "Chris Carr? What?" (Reporter interjects: "A leg injury?") "Oh, he'll play. He'll be fine. We're not going into injuries right now, so don't even try. I'm serious. Not interested in talking about any of that."
On what emotions are running through his body right now: "I don't care to talk about it. I'm just excited to play. I can't describe that. I'm not eloquent enough to describe that. It's just a big game, and we're proud to be in it. We're going to try to go do our best. Me, like all of our guys, I think what you try to do is just do your job. That's the focus of it, is just to do your job. The emotions, that's all part of it, but doing your job is a lot more important."
On the key to improving red zone performance: "Scoring touchdowns. That's the key. If you score touchdowns in the red zone, you feel good about it. That's the key."
On improving execution in the red zone: "Execution is critically important in the red zone. Yeah, you want to execute down there. You block, you tackle, you catch, you protect. That's football."
On whether being on the field makes him realize the true physical nature of this rivalry: "Yeah, I would say that's true. I think you always have a perception that it's a great rivalry, but on the outside, I don't think anybody that hasn't been a part of it really understands it and can really appreciate it until you're in it. When you're in it, I think all the comments and what you see is all very real and very true and apply to this rivalry like none I've been a part of before."
On whether TE Todd Heap will be a good weapon in the middle of the field:"Todd's one of the best players in the National Football League. We lost him on the first play [in Week 13 against the Steelers], and that was a big deal. We've been in this game where we haven't had a lot of our guys. I hear a lot of talk about how [the Steelers] don't have some of their guys in different games, but that's just part of football. You don't apologize for who you have or who you don't have. You go play the game with what you've got, and that's how it goes."
On what he thinks of reports that Pat Shurmur, who he coached with at the Eagles, was hired as the Browns' head coach:"Pat Shurmur is a great friend. We've got a lot of respect for him. [He has a] great family – great family man, tremendous football coach. Obviously, we spent a lot of time together in Philly. We took a lot of long runs around South Philadelphia there – talked a lot of ball over the years. So, we probably know each other pretty well. So he's in the division now? *(Reporter says: "All the reports are saying that it's pretty much a done deal.") *OK. Well, congratulations to him. I'm really happy for him. He's very deserving."
On whether he would prefer that someone he doesn't know well get the job instead:"No, I don't care. I'm excited about it. I look forward to it. We squared off on a lot of other little [competitions like] golf and basketball and things like that, so we're used to it."
On whether his relationship with his brother, Jim, will have to change with him being in the NFL:"I don't think the relationship will change. I think we'll still be brothers, and I'm sure we'll still talk football. You'll probably be a little more careful with what you share. We won't be talking about injuries – I know that – before we play them that week. *(laughter) *But, it's just a great thing. I couldn't be more proud of him or excited. It's very cool, and I know our parents feel great about it. It'll be interesting to see how it shakes out. We play them next year, but that's on the backburner right now."