Flacco surprised by Lewis’ criticism, but message itself nothing new

November 18, 2016 | Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Those hoping for a “passionate” response from Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to former teammate Ray Lewis’ criticism were probably disappointed on Friday.

A day after Lewis criticized Flacco’s passion for football and sideline demeanor, Flacco said it’s nothing he hasn’t heard before despite not expecting the latest source of criticism to be the future Hall of Fame linebacker who retired at the end of the 2012 season.

“It’s a little surprising coming from Ray, but it’s been something I’ve dealt with [since] probably back before high school and even in high school,” Flacco said. “It’s just part of my personality. 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 is a little bit different coming from Ray.”

While many have blasted Lewis for failing to acknowledge Flacco’s dynamic role in helping him retire with a second NFL championship, the 31-year-old quarterback made no mention of his historic postseason run that included 11 touchdowns and no interceptions that culminated with an MVP performance in Super Bowl XLVII.

Outside observers may not be able to completely dismiss Lewis’ perspective since the two played together for five seasons, but it was apparent in the Baltimore locker room on Friday that the future Hall of Famer’s comments did not sit well with Flacco’s current teammates. Veteran safety Eric Weddle went as far as asking if Lewis had forgotten that Flacco won him a Super Bowl and suggested he should have something better to talk about than tearing down an old teammate.

The Ravens are in the midst of their fourth season since Lewis’ retirement.

“He hasn’t been, but he was here for a while,” Flacco said. “You want to be able to listen to what he says and all that. I know he hasn’t been here for a while, but we want him to feel part of this place and we want him to come around. I don’t know how much that plays or doesn’t play into it.”

Preparing for his biggest challenge of the season to date in playing on the road against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Flacco made the right choice in taking the high road to prevent the controversy from becoming an even bigger story. Even if Lewis’ comments were unfair, Flacco is still in the midst of one of his worst seasons and likely wouldn’t come across well getting into a war of words with the best player in franchise history.

That being said, Flacco didn’t seem concerned about clearing the air when asked if he might give Lewis a call to try to clear the air.

“Probably not. Me and Ray are going to cross paths again,” Flacco said. “It might be brought up; it might not. Who knows?”