FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady decided to kill Ray Lewis with kindness.

The former Baltimore Ravens linebacker, known for spewing nonsense during pregame pump-up speeches, perhaps made his most outlandish statement Tuesday while talking about Brady with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

“The only reason we know who Tom Brady is, because of a tuck rule,” Lewis said three days after the New England Patriots quarterback beat Lewis’ former team in the divisional round of the playoffs. “There’s no such thing as a tuck rule! If the ball is in your hand, and I knock it out your hand, whether it’s going backwards, forwards, lateral, sideways, however it’s coming out, that’s a freaking fumble. But guess what we created? We created a freaking tuck rule!”

Brady was asked about Lewis’ comments Thursday during his news conference at Gillette Stadium and decided not to take a shot at him.

“Yeah. (Patriots VP of media relations Stacey James) told me that,” Brady said. “Yeah. Everyone has an opinion, and I think Ray’s a great player, so he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I was fortunate to play against him.”

But did Lewis ever gouge Brady in the eye?

“No, maybe worse than that,” Brady said. “He was a pretty tough player.”

Thumbnail photo via Charles Krupa/Associated Press