Jalen Ramsey made it clear as he spoke with reporters about Rob Gronkowski on Thursday: He’s not scared of anybody.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback recently criticized the New England Patriots tight end in an ESPN The Magazine story and wasn’t backing down Thursday, three days before the two teams meet in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game won by New England.
“I don’t fear no man, period,” Ramsey said. “So he’s going to have to come out there and line up on me. Or however it goes. He’s got to play us this year.”
In the recent article, Ramsey said in part: “I don’t think Gronk’s good. Let me say — I don’t think Gronk is as great as people think he is. Any time Gronk has been matched up with a corner, he’s had a very bad game — and that corner has had a very good game.”
Ramsey was reminded of his recent comments during the media session. It was also mentioned to him that Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash said that anyone who thinks Gronkowski is overrated is crazy.
Ramsey shrugged and said, “Might be crazy. I don’t care.”
Ramsey reiterated a short time later that he has no fear of a matchup with Gronkowski.
“He’s good. He’s good, now. We ain’t going to get it twisted,” Ramsey said. “He’s good, but you saying this to me, is this supposed to bring fear to me or something?”
Gronkowski, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, said on Wednesday that he is drawing motivation from Ramsey’s words.
“I mean, if that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels,” Gronkowski said on a conference call. “It’s a big game this Sunday, we’re playing them. I’m sure I’m going to have opportunities to go versus him. I’m sure he’s going to have opportunities to go versus me. I’m just preparing like I always prepare.”
The two players were matched up a couple times in the AFC title game before Gronkowski departed with a first-half concussion. Gronkowski had one catch for 21 yards before exiting, and New England scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally for a 24-20 victory.
Gronkowski will certainly cross Ramsey’s path at some point, with the Jacksonville star likely engaging in his patented trash talking. Ramsey said the football field isn’t the place to be friendly.
“When you play the game of football, I feel like, to respect the game, you have to play it fierce,” Ramsey said. “I don’t believe in having friends on the field. I mean, my brother, my dad, my mom, grandma was out there, it’s on. After the game we can be cool. It doesn’t matter. That’s how I feel, like you’ve got to respect the game of football.
“Football is not a game meant to be played being nice to each other and all that, like Kumbaya. But after the game’s over with, that’s cool.”
—Field Level Media