Flacco to naysayers: “I plan on being around for a while”

Joe Flacco is the first quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons.

His career postseason mark is 8-4 and now, he’s about to appear in his first Super Bowl in large part because of his own performance - 853 passing yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions in three contests.

This week, Flacco had strong words when asked about his naysayers and not getting the respect he has deserved.

“I really don’t care,” Flacco said. “You know, there are guys out there that have got to make a living on hating on somebody. If that’s going to be us, if that’s going to be me, then I plan on being around for a while. And if you want to continue to do it, I’ll be here.”

Flacco is set to become a free agent after the Super Bowl, and while Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Friday that he won’t be addressing contract situations until after the season, he made one comment

“You know what, I’ve gone on record, Joe and I have a very good understanding of his contract and where we are. End of story,” Newsome said.

Retiring linebacker Ray Lewis thinks highly of Flacco and believes the quarterback could possibly take over as the Ravens’ leader going forward.

“Who knows who turns into that next leader here? There are a lot of guys that can definitely step in that role. But I think Joe has a great advantage and head start to really becoming that next true, true leader,” Lewis said. “He kind of has to come out of his quiet shell a little bit, but outside of that, Joe is definitely a great candidate for it.”

Flacco’s thoughts on becoming more of a vocal leader differ from Lewis’, but he respects how his longtime teammate has inspired the Ravens.

“No, I haven’t worked on it. I haven’t worked on it - don’t know if I agree with it,” Flacco said. “There are a lot of different ways to lead, and the bottom line is it’s about motivating your players to get the best out of them and having belief that you can go do it in any situation. And Ray does a great job of that in his own way, and I don’t know if there’s anybody quite like him in that category.

“So in an effort to do something along the lines of the way he does it would be a mistake, just because I don’t think you’re going to live up to it. You’ve got to do it your own way, and I think naturally as you get more comfortable with people and people understand you more, and you become more confident in them, and they become more confident in you, you become more vocal as time goes on.”

Either way, Flacco is excited about where he is at this moment, heading to his first Super Bowl after suffering two losses in the AFC title game over his first four seasons.

“It feels good. There are a lot of people in this league that can’t say they’ve ever gotten to this point, so it definitely feels good to get here,” Flacco said. “We’ve got a lot of guys on our team that have played long careers, and this will be their first time here. So we realize that opportunity and realize how special it is. That’s why we’ve just got to work hard and make sure we make the most of it.”