Last year, when Ray Lewis went on a rant about Tom Brady and the ridiculousness of roughing the passer penalties, the tape should have immediately been sent to Canton to be played on repeat from sunrise to sunset. It was that memorable.
Well, with a new season upon us, the veteran linebacker is looking to outdo himself.
Last year's rant started with a warning shot: "Without totally going off the wall here," Lewis said, before basically going off the wall and talking about how all men put their pants on the same way.
This year, he made sure before answering a question about Rex Ryan to say, "I'm gonna be very careful with this."
Then, the Ray Lewis Emotion Machine kicked on at full force.
"We're talking about the Jets like we're talking about the Saints," he told reporters. "That's the defending Super Bowl champs. And until [the Saints] play tonight, they're the only team that can be dethroned. … "All that, 'We the Miami Heat of football.' If ya'll are the Miami Heat, we gotta be the Lakers. 'Cuz we're looking for multiple rings."
While there's no chance that Lewis is the only NFL player who is tired of hearing the Jets and their coach talk and talk and talk, he is without question the most appropriate player to take them to task.
"You listen to all this yap, yap, yap, [but] the bottom line is you got to buckle up your chinstraps," he said. "The game ain't played through tongues."
Of course, both Ryan and Lewis have great respect for each other, stemming from Ryan's tenure with the Ravens from 1999-2008. On Wednesday's finale of Hard Knocks, though, Ryan told Mark Sanchez that Lewis and Ed Reed could not handle defensive coordinator duties in a preseason game for Baltimore.
That led to Lewis' soliloquy on Thursday, but he also had some words regarding Darrelle Revis in a conference call.
"I'm just glad he is signed, so there are no excuses," Lewis told the New York media. "Don't come and say, 'Oh, we didn't have Revis.' Have everybody you need to have. … Stack your deck and let's play football."
Fortunately, the "putting on the pants" line made a return for the 2010 season.
"Darrelle Revis puts his pants on one leg at a time. He's not a machine," Lewis said. "He's a simple man, and he has to deal with everything that we're willing to bring to the table."
Later in the day, Lewis offered his opinion on where Ryan should be focusing his energy.
"Coach Mark Sanchez. Coach your Jets," he said. "My name should not come out of Rex's mouth, unless you're telling somebody to come block me — which is going to be a very hard damn task on Monday night."
As Lewis has already made painstakingly clear, it won't be hard to know what's on his mind.