FOXBORO - Tom Brady's the kid in the front row, pen poised over his notebook ready to take down every word he needs to succeed. Terrell Suggs is the kid at the back of the room wadding up paper and throwing it off the side of Brady's square squash when the teacher's back is turned. At least those are the boxes Suggs has tried to put the two men into. On Wednesday, when the dog-and-pony show for the AFC Championship game kicked off, Suggs was asked about his ongoing beef with Brady.
"What?! No, theres no beef," he said incredulously.
He then explained (as we did earlier in the week) that it all began when Brady appeared to a get a flag-on-demand from Ron Winter in 2009. "I guess the genesis of that, it was the incident in 09, where I almost hit him below the waist. Ive gotten over it. Thats where it all started, but you grow and mature. As you all can clearly see, I am not the same guy I was back in 09. I am definitely 20 pounds lighter, too. We had a lot going on. We had a lot going on that year. Like I said, I am pretty much over it. I respect him. Like I said before, I said it Sunday, when it is all said and done, they are going to speak about three quarterbacks: Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning and him. Theres really no beef.
That's a pretty amazing turnaround from the way Suggs has spun it in the past. But there's always been an element of jest to everything Suggs has said about Brady through the years. He seems to save his legitimate ill humor for the field.
The matchup between Brady and Suggs, who had 14 sacks this season, has been labeled "Suggs vs. UGGs" in a nod to the comfy boots Brady endorses.
"Whats that mean? He wears UGG boots?" asked Suggs."I heard they are really comfortable. Maybe he can get me some. Ill take some. Ill send him some Ball So Hard gear, Ball So Hard T-shirts.
Even during all thebouquet-tossing, Suggs kept his guard up from buying in too much. Asked if he heard Bill Belichick's praise for Ed Reed as being the best player he ever coached against, Suggs said, He has said that to us before, and then constantly threw the ball back there at him. I dont know how much that holds weight."
The success of the Ravens defense hinges greatly on how fast their pass rush can get to Brady. Can their corners and linebackers mess up the receivers' timing long enough for Suggs and Co. to get to Brady?
"You dont want anyone, particularly this guy, to get into a seven-on-seven matchup with your defensive backs, especially when they have a 6-12, 260-pound tight end that runs about a 4.5 (Rob Gronkowski). You dont want him back there just like, Oh, were just going to play catch today. You dont want him to zone in, get in his zone, so to say. So, I think pressure is going to be crucial, but its always crucial. But, particularly when you are playing these type of quarterbacks, its pivotal.