First, there were the Denver Broncos fans that plastered “retirement starts now” billboards about Ray Lewis in 2012 all around their city.
Even after the Ravens beat Denver, that trend continued in New England as Patriot fans did the same. The end result? Well, you don’t need me to tell you.
Jump to 2013 when Ravens rookie Matt Elam mistakenly answered a question about the best way to cover Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
“He’s pretty old, so I don’t know how physical he’ll be,” Elam stated. “He’s a big guy, but he’s older. I guess when they get older they’re not going to be as physical, you know what I’m saying? We’re going to have to be physical, make him uncomfortable.”
The Ravens backed up their young rookie on that one, as the secondary kept Johnson at bay (aided by some key drops, of course). However, as they say: it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.
Well, here in 2014, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is the latest to put that saying to the test. He had some interesting words to say about his former wide receiver Steve Smith.
Speaking with Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, Rivera suggested that Smith’s age has forced him to lose a step, and said the way he practices could make him miss more time.
“He doesn’t have top-end speed like he used to, but he still has good speed,” Rivera said.
“Steve will still find ways to make plays. And as far as football decisions go, we have to move on eventually. This was an opportunity to do it.”
In all fairness, Rivera wasn’t completely critical about the Ravens’ new wide receiver. Still, I am not sure how Smith will view those remarks made by his former head coach.
After all, Smith did state during his phone press conference, “I’m not coming to Baltimore with a chip on my shoulder. I’m coming to Baltimore as Steve Smith.”
It should make for an interesting showdown this upcoming season as the Ravens host the Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium.
Given Smith’s remarks made earlier this offseason about hoping to play against them this year and his fiery passion for the game, he already had this game circled.
With Rivera’s latest comment one has to wonder if Smith will have those quotes laminated in his brand new locker at the Castle.
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