FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady took the high road on Thursday when asked about the recent comments of former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
During an appearance on Sirius XM radio on Tuesday night, Lewis fervently argued that the only reason Brady is famous is because of the now-extinct tuck rule.
“The only reason we know — I’m just being honest — the only reason we know who Tom Brady is, is because of the tuck rule. There’s no such thing as a tuck rule,” said Lewis, who went on to intimate that the rule was made up on the spot in that 2001 AFC divisional round game against the Raiders.
“They don’t go to that championship game if that ball [isn’t] called a tuck. That’s a fumble. That man clearly fumbled the ball. And they named it a tuck rule — something we’ve never heard of in today’s game. So now you’ve got to ask yourself: when did the legacy really start?”
The tuck rule has since been abolished by the league, though it was in the rule book for a decade after the tuck rule game, and it was in the rule book before that game, not made up on the spot as Lewis seems to believe.
Brady, who made a rare second appearance at the podium this week, looked bemused when the topic came up.
“Yeah,” he said, taking a breath as he mulled what to say. “Stacey [James, Patriots vice president of media relations] told me about that . . . yeah. Everyone has an opinion. I think Ray’s a great player; he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I was fortunate enough to play against him.”
A couple of hours later, Lewis backed away from his comments via a string of tweets: “To clarify my comments from this week: I was trying to express my frustration about the Tuck Rule itself . . . Rules like that should not be part of the game,” Lewis wrote. “They lead to controversial plays that impact the outcome of games and thats [sic] what everyone Remembers, especially when you are talking about playoff games.
“I have immense respect for Tom Brady and everything he has achieved in this game. He will go down as one of the all-time greats.”
Brady’s right eye is still red, the result of being poked by Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan in the first half on Saturday night. Brady said it is not bothering or inhibiting him.
“It was a good move — the eye gouge,” Brady joked. “You can’t even do that in pro wrestling.”
Their locker stalls are next to each other, and factoring in Monday night’s national championship result, former Ohio State player Nate Ebner probably is giving the business to former Oregon safety Patrick Chung. The Buckeyes beat the Ducks, 42-20, to win college football’s national championship.
“It’s freaking terrible,” Chung said.
Chung isn’t the only teammate Ebner has bragging rights over.
“I’ve got it on the Oregon guys, and I’ve got it on the Alabama guys,” Ebner said.
LeGarrette Blount also went to Oregon, and Dont’a Hightower starred at Alabama. Ohio State knocked off Alabama in the Sugar Bowl to reach the national championship game.
Quite an entrance
When the Patriots play at Gillette Stadium, they run out of an inflatable tunnel. Most players jog out, but Julian Edelman does a full sprint the length of the field, often punctuating it by punching the air or encouraging fans to cheer.
“You know, it’s always fun to play in front of your own crowd,” Edelman said of his routine, saying he’s not sure why he started doing it. “You hear them going crazy, it gets you a little fired up and get the blood moving and get ready for the game. So I just started doing that.”
Last Saturday, Edelman nearly ran into a couple of the Minutemen, though it’s not the first time he’s gone a bit out of control.
“I know – I’ve ran through the fireworks three times, I’ve almost hit a soldier a couple times; I’ve had to apologize about that,” he said. “It’s definitely something I’ve got to work on.”
Running through the fireworks was “pretty scary,” Edelman said.
The Patriots once again held practice on the game field inside Gillette Stadium on Thursday, with players in shells (soft pads) and sweats.
The injury report was the same as Wednesday: C Bryan Stork (knee) did not practice; CB Brandon Browner (knee), Hightower (shoulder), DT Chris Jones (elbow), and WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe) were limited.
Brady (ankle) practiced fully.
The Colts, who listed three players as not practicing on Wednesday, upgraded all three on Thursday. CB Vontae Davis (knee) and CB Greg Toler (groin) were limited, and LB D’Qwell Jackson (rest) was a full participant.