Brady, Suggs set to renew bitter rivalry
EARLIER this season, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning took center stage and co-authored another memorable chapter in their epic rivalry when the Patriots hosted the Broncos last month.
On Sunday in Baltimore, there's another Brady match-up on tap. This rivalry isn't nearly as friendly as the one with the Broncos quarterback. In fact, unlike the Brady-Manning duel, these two chaps don't particularly like each other.
Brady doesn't call to chat, or offer career advice, as he does with Manning. And there won't be a warm embrace or friendly banter after the game with Terrell Suggs.
Just more sound bites from his Ravens nemesis.
Suggs has made no secret of the fact he can't stand the Patriots quarterback. During an E:60 interview on ESPN in October, he expressed those feelings.
Asked specifically what he thought about Brady, Suggs replied: "I don't think that's appropriate for camera. I don't like him, he don't like me. I don't like his hair."
The Ravens pass rusher also isn't particularly fond of what he described as No. 12's "smug attitude."
While he's not the type to throw out unfiltered, inflammatory remarks about anyone, he did say Suggs wasn't on his Christmas card list when asked on Wednesday.
"No. Probably not this year," Brady said, flashing a smile. "Maybe one of these years, we'll get together for dinner or something."
Brady then provided a look that let you know "one of these years" meant a million years.With Ray Lewis retired and Ed Reed gone to the Jets, Brady and Suggs have become the major protagonists for this Patriots-Ravens rivalry. They are the tone-setters for the two teams that have met in back-to-back AFC championship games.Suggs loves to stir the pot, and doesn't mind mixing it up with Brady or the Patriots. He's not a fan of Brady or the Pats.
Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins said Suggs doesn't trash talk much during the game, but when he does, it's aimed at Brady.
"There's definitely something there when it comes to Tom. But he can get in line with everyone else that doesn't like us," said Mankins, when asked about Suggs anti-Patriots stance.
"There's lots of people around the league and around the country that don't like the Patriots. He likes to say what he's thinking. That's fine."
Suggs throws this dislike out there, and it's not just when the two teams are about to meet. One might think since the Ravens won the Super Bowl, Suggs would tone it down. He's tried, but sometimes he just can't help himself.
In his little tiff with Brady, he still can't get over an incident in 2009 game when he grazed the quarterback's legs during a play. Brady got the attention of the referee, who flagged Suggs for roughing the passer. The penalty led to a touchdown in the Pats 27-21 win over the Ravens.
"Everyone just seems to worship the guy so much." Suggs said in October. "Not me, though."
Cracked Mankins: "He probably doesn't like my beard, but that's all right."
Yesterday, Suggs, who hasn't registered a sack in the past six games but had nine in the first eight games, managed to avoid bulletin board material. He was on his best behavior. He wouldn't jump in when offered any chances to snipe at Brady. Asked if Brady would have taken the kind of hit to the knee Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco did Monday night, Suggs responded simply.
"I don't know. Different referees see different things. You never really know. I see what you're (media) doing. I appreciate it."
Suggs also attempted to downplay having a rivalry with Brady, given he's not a quarterback.
Obviously, Brady-Suggs can't touch Brady-Manning. It's not in the same league. But the one thing Suggs can do, that Manning can't when the teams meet, is directly impact Brady's performance. As a pass rusher, he can get to Brady in a physical, tangible way.
Brady is well aware what Suggs brings to the table on the football field. In Brady fashion, he'll throw out the compliment.
"He's a great player. He's always been a great player. He presents a lot of problems for an offensive line, for an offense," Brady said of Suggs, who has 74 tackles this season, third best on the Ravens. "He's big, he's rangy, he's powerful. He plays the run and the pass. For a guy that size, and how athletic he is, to play the way he does is amazing."
Suggs just won't get a Christmas card this year from the Brady house. But Peyton will.