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Joe Flacco's quote on Ray Lewis' speeches discussed

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Joe Flacco admitted that he didn't know what Ray Lewis was saying 90 percent of the time when he'd speak to the team. But don't read too much into it as a diss or a zinger toward the future Hall of Fame linebacker.

Chris Graythen

In the grand scheme of things, the important parts to take out of ESPN The Magazine's story on Joe Flacco, written by Kevin Van Valkenburg, are that Baltimore's quarterback ...

1) Was finally given the reins the offense at halftime during the AFC Championship game against New England,

2) He had a good relationship with former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, but couldn't communicate with him well enough to understand direction he needed to have as the team's quarterback,


3) Flacco will probably wind up disrespected throughout the remainder of his career, no matter what he accomplishes. Van Valkenburg made the point that Flacco was named Super Bowl MVP and won the game, while 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has grabbed more headlines, including ESPN's Ron Jaworski referring to him as potentially becoming one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

All that said, and for as admittedly boring as Flacco is, the highlight of the article came when he gave Van Valkenburg a quote about former middle linebacker Ray Lewis, which now has the Internet abuzz. The context of the quote would appear to be that Flacco doesn't believe a team has to have that lone vocal leader everyone else rallies around. It can be a team filled with moving parts.

Flacco is more of an extrovert by nature and wouldn't be able to be that kind of rah-rah guy if he tried. He mentioned, in the article, that Cameron once asked him to give a similar speech, with Flacco knowing he could never willingly do something like that.

We all know Lewis had the opposite approach. He'd become animated, intense and acting like the year was 1944 and the Ravens were preparing for D-Day. That's just not the type of person Flacco is.

"That's not me," Flacco told Van Valkenburg. "I love Ray, and I love how he always spoke from the heart, but if you listened to those speeches, a lot of them didn't even make sense. He meant everything he was saying, but I didn't know what he was talking about 90 percent of the time."

It's not that Flacco meant anything personal or malicious with what he said. It's more that Lewis would enter a certain zone, in order to motivate guys that needed that kind of rallying before a big game.

It turns out that Van Valkenburg predicted the blogosphere would set fire to the wind while transcribing the Flacco audio back in June.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>It&#39;s an interesting world where you can already tell the context of a quote will be sliced off by others in an effort to juice page views.</p>&mdash; Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg) <a href="">June 24, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Prediction confirmed.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>And guess what&#39;s happening today!</p>&mdash; Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg) <a href="">August 23, 2013</a></blockquote>
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That can be a problem with the web sometimes. One writer talks to an athlete and writes a quote in a particular context, only for the rest of the Internet to piggyback the quote and create their own interpretation, as if they were the one to talk to the player that gave the original author the soundbite.

Regardless of how anyone interprets Flacco's quote, it will inevitably breathe some added flare into Flacco's perceived persona for the short-term, even when he'd seemingly prefer the boring tag.

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt