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Teammates Stand Up For Joe Flacco After Ray Lewis' Passion Comments


Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said he didn't have much of a reaction to the critical comments that came from former teammate Ray Lewis. 

"It's a little surprising coming from Ray, but it's something I've dealt with [since] back before high school and even in high school. It's just part of my personality," Flacco said Friday.

"When things are going good, it's [treated] as if it's a good thing. When things aren't going as well as you might like them to be, it's always a question as to whether my personality is that of one that fits what an NFL quarterback should be. It's not anything I'm not used to, but it's a little different coming from Ray."

Typical Joe Cool.

His teammates, however, seemed a bit more perturbed on his behalf.

As Flacco spoke with the media, teammates shouted out behind him:

"We believe in you, Joe!"

"We got your back!"

"You can take the high road, but I won't!"

It was a different scene from what Lewis painted about teammates' unwillingness to go out on a limb to defend Flacco's lack of a "rah rah" nature on gamedays.

Safety Eric Weddle was one of the more outspoken players in Friday's locker room.

Since arriving in Baltimore this offseason, Weddle has consistently praised Flacco and hasn't been afraid to speak his mind. Unlike some other players in the locker room that suited up with Lewis and may consequently feel more conflicted, Weddle hasn't played with Lewis and is in his first year with Flacco.

"It's just odd that you hear Ray Lewis saying that," Weddle said. "Joe Flacco won you a Super Bowl. Did you forget about that?

"It is what it is. We love Joe. He's our guy. Great teammate, professional, leads, everything you want. It's kind of irrelevant. We don't really care what the outside thinks. But for an old teammate to say it, it's just like, 'Don't you have something better to talk about?' I guess you didn't."

Weddle has had a front-row seat to how a quarterback can motivate in different ways. He played with Philip Rivers for nine years in San Diego, and the two became very close friends.

Rivers is known for his very fiery personality. He'll visibly scold teammates, and at the same time be one of the most excited players on the field.

"No one leads the same. Everyone can do their own thing, everyone has their own personality," Weddle said.

"I just love [Flacco's] demeanor. He doesn't get too high, he doesn't get too low. I think that's a great quality. A lot of times, when you let your emotions take over, you can play bad because of it. I like his demeanor; I like his work ethic."

Weddle said part of what makes football such a great team sport is that players with different personalities must be relied on to come together and do their job.

"We have a bunch of different personalities in this locker room, but that's what makes us so great and so close," Weddle said. "We respect each other, we love each other and we support each other. That's the sign of a great team."

Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. warned people not to put too much stock in Lewis' take. It's just one opinion, he said.

"One individual's, no matter how great they are, perspective of someone, does not mean you can [take] that as the Bible," Smith said.

"You don't play this game for this long and be able to accomplish some of the things that Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, all the great guys that played for the Baltimore Ravens that I admire, you don't play this long without having a drive or passion for the game."

Wide receiver Kamar Aiken knows Flacco does have more of a mild temper – much like Aiken himself – but said there's actually more on-field passion than may meet the eye.

"If it's a series or something hasn't been going right, he'll come in the huddle and say something to get us going," Aiken said. "He does it. He just doesn't do it for cameras."

Unlike Weddle, Smith or Aiken, Head Coach John Harbaugh has spent time alongside both Lewis and Flacco, who were teammates for five years (2008-2012).

Harbaugh praised Flacco's leadership, and how relatable he is to all his teammates, from those at the bottom of the roster to the top.

"That's a passionate guy talking, obviously," Harbaugh said of Lewis.

"I think everybody expresses their passion in different ways. You have a locker room full of guys and an office full of coaches, and everybody is different. Every personality is different. Every single guy does their thing in a different way, but every single guy here cares deeply and works very hard and wants to be great at what they do. That's how I look at it."

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