Rex Ryan is always good for a quote or two ahead of a New York Jets clash with the New England Patriots. One of his rookies is taking a page from his head coach's playbook by alleging that Tom Brady has inspired rule changes from NFL officials.
The New York Post's Steve Serby reports on the latest chapter between the rivals and thoughts from rookie defensive end Sheldon Richardson.
For Richardson, he is using the platform available to him before the big game to trumpet something that has been bugging him: Brady is getting babied.
The New York Post used this hilarious picture on their front page for Serby's article, via The Big Lead's Tim Ryan.
With that, we have an image that will linger in our heads well after Week 7.
Richardson recalls their matchup from Week 2 and the slap on the wrist he received from daring to put his hands on Brady. While he never uses the word "baby," it's easy to read between the lines.
"I remember a play, a referee made it his business to tell me I was too close to hitting him." The 22-year-old continued, "It gets crazy out there. I got close to him, shoved him a little bit, the referee said, 'I could’ve threw the flag on you for that.'"
The rookie mentioned that Brady didn't fall on the play, which the referee said was inconsequential. The game is designed to keep the quarterback as safe as possible within the confines of the rules, or so the sentiment goes.
And about those rules, Richardson has these thoughts:
Why do we make rules after he gets hurt? I don’t know why a bunch of stuff.
They made the Tuck Rule back when? 2000 when? Tom Brady rule, right? OK, a lot of great quarterbacks have hurt a knee before, but now we can’t hit quarterbacks in the knees now ’cause Tom Brady gets hurt [season-ending knee injury in the 2008 season opener]. Doesn’t it seem that way? Right or wrong?
As Serby reminds, the Tuck Rule has since been rescinded. It's also worth noting that the infamous rule was instated back in 1999, before Brady came into the league.
Still, in his first year, Richardson is ready to declare the NFL is pampering Brady.
The Jets aren't exactly the most soft-spoken team in the NFL. Their head coach managed to create some minor confusion with his thoughts on what his team should and shouldn't do ahead of Sunday's game.
Richardson may be partaking in a bit of gamesmanship that is usually reserved for veterans, putting officials on notice who might normally call a tight game at the line.
Then again, he may be just the kind of athlete who is quick with an opinion and absolutely at ease offering it to the media.
Just because he thinks Brady gets preferential treatment doesn't extinguish his respect for the star QB. Richardson concludes:
I’m ready to go get another shot at these guys, it’s Tom Brady. As a defensive lineman, you look to play certain people, and he happens to be one of ’em.
He’s a Hall of Famer quarterback. He doesn’t make mistakes. It doesn’t matter who his wideouts are, he’s going to win the game, especially when he plays the Jets apparently. So I just can’t wait to play against him again.
We think this Richardson kid is going to be a welcome addition to one of football's more eventful soap operas.
It's one that can actually muster a hilarious image of Brady as a little baby out of a few words from an eager rookie wanting to take down the best.
You can bet there will be some mighty creative posters in the stands this weekend.
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