Matt Elam might not have picked the right Lion to awaken when talking to the media Wednesday.
When asked about star wideout Calvin Johnson, the Ravens rookie safety reeled off a string of compliments.
“Big, fast, athletic, unstoppable, freak,” Elam told the Associated Press.
But he’s receiving tons of attention for the next thing he said about the 6-foot-5 receiver known as Megatron.
“He’s pretty old, so I don’t know how physical he’ll be,” Elam told the AP. “He’s a big guy, but he’s older. I guess when they get older they’re not going to be as physical, you know what I’m saying? We’re going to have to be physical, make him uncomfortable.”
Johnson, who’s 28, responded to those comments Thursday.
“I am getting old,” Johnson said during a conference call with the Baltimore media. “It’s all good, though. I’ll show him what that ‘old man’ strength is about.”
Johnson said he wasn’t surprised by the comments.
“He doesn’t have to see me on the field. He can talk all he wants,” Johnson said. “He plays back, so I don’t see him every play - unless I run past him. I’m not worried about it.”
Elam’s coach and teammates had an opportunity to react to the young safety’s remarks, and no one seemed too upset about it.
Coach John Harbaugh made light of the interview flub right away.
“I think everybody’s old to Matt Elam, obviously,” Harbaugh said. “Matt’s pretty young and hopefully he learns from his opportunity to speak to the media. ...
“I don’t appreciate it. It doesn’t help us to get a guy like Calvin Johnson all fired up. That’s really not the idea. I mean, it’s Monday Night Football. They’ve deemed it a playoff game for them and they’re going to be pretty juiced up. I’m sure the crowd’s going to be fired up and the team’s going to be fired up as they should be, as will we. I don’t think they needed that to get fired up, but we didn’t need to give it to them either.”
Cornerback Jimmy Smith also didn’t think Elam’s comments were too big of a deal.
“Honestly, it doesn’t bother me. Would you think that Calvin Johnson’s not going to come to a Monday night game on national TV and not play his best game anyway because a rookie said something? I doubt it,” Smith said. “It’s posterboard stuff. You can look at it as much as you want. To Matt Elam - he’s 22 years old, he’s a rookie - (Johnson’s) 28 years old? He thinks I’m old and I’m 25.
“To him, he meant as a veteran, ‘Get a hat on him, hit him a lot.’ If they’re going to take it as, ‘That’s posterboard, we’re going to take it even harder now,’ then they didn’t have the right mentality to come in and play a Monday night game anyway.”