Dueling linebackers

Former teammates Lewis, Thomas trade barbs

October 25, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN REPORTER

Adalius Thomas issued a strong response to Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who called him "a coward" for critical comments Thomas made about his former team.

"As far as calling me a coward, I think that goes to something personal," Thomas told Boston reporters yesterday. "I don't like it. I will address that with him personally myself. To attack my integrity and say you had to make a scheme up for me ... I didn't know they made up outside linebacker for me. I know he was crying about a big guy in the middle so you can keep blockers off of you. I mean, I don't know if that's a scheme made for you or not."

Thomas, an All-Pro linebacker for the Ravens last season, signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots this year.

In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Thomas took a swipe at Ravens coach Brian Billick and his ex-teammates, saying his former team has "a star-studded system" and no one on the Patriots "beats his chest."

"When you take a shot at men that you claim to love to go to war with, I call those cowards," Lewis said on his weekly radio show Monday. "If you got something to say privately, you don't have to go to a newspaper. If you got something to say to a man, speak it."

Lewis wondered what would make Thomas take those shots at a team that had to "fit him into our schemes."

"You don't become a Super Bowl champion in this business without having character and dignity for what you do for your teammates," Lewis said. "We won a Super Bowl without Adalius Thomas. The New England Patriots won three Super Bowls without Adalius Thomas."

Thomas, who played sparingly for the 2000 Ravens, told reporters yesterday that he believes his quotes to Sports Illustrated were taken out of context.

"I don't think I recall any of the conversation I had, I don't think what I said came out that way," said Thomas, who played seven seasons for the Ravens. "I could be totally wrong. Like I said, it was a compliment of the Patriots. I never downed the Ravens. Anybody that has seen me do an interview in seven years knows my integrity isn't that. If I have something to say to somebody, then I'll say it.

"Nothing that I said was a comment or shot at the Ravens or none of the players. Actually, I said I had a chance to play with Hall of Fame players that was not in that quote. I went on to name names. Ray Lewis was one of the names I named."

Thomas did try to clarify what he was trying to say in the interview.

"The only thing I tried to say was that it's different here than it was there," Thomas said. "I said I played with Hall of Fame guys on both sides of the ball and I named players on both sides, and that's what I said. I said the superstars that were there were everyday household names, from Randall Cunningham to Deion Sanders.

"That's what I said, but that got cut out [of the article]. That's how it went. As far as that goes, I said [coach Bill] Belichick is the same way. Everybody here shies away from the media. I said the head coach there, he stayed in the media when I was there. That's not a shot, that's a fact."

Thomas returns to Baltimore to play his former team Dec. 3.

Note -- The Ravens have re-signed kicker Rhys Lloyd and running back Cory Ross and waived tight end Lee Vickers and offensive tackle Mike Kracalik.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

HE SAID, HE SAID

Adalius Thomas:

"As far as calling me a coward, I think that goes to something personal. I don't like it. I will address that with him personally myself."

Index

Ray Lewis:

"If you got something to say privately, you don't have to go to a newspaper. If you got something to say to a man, speak it."

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