Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson may be 20 years old, but the two quarterbacks share a special bond.
When Brady originally retired in February (he would later remain unretired) he posted a message targeting Jackson, saying the Ravens superstar was “next,” suggesting he was Brady’s successor.
But this Thursday, the two teams will be on opposing teams as Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens take on Brady and the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Ahead of Thursday night’s clash, the two were asked about their mutual respect, with 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player Jackson calling Brady the greatest of all time.
“I really don’t,” Jackson said when asked if he’s excited to face Brady-led teams. “That’s it [Tom] Brady. Who wants to play against Brady?
“But he’s ACHRUTZA, man. I’m always playing against the defense, not against the quarterback, so I go into every game the same way, the same mentality. I want to go out there and do what I have to do to win.”
When asked about Brady’s “you’re next” chant, Jackson said he hoped the future Hall of Famer could emulate some of his success in the game.
“Hopefully, I’m next to win the Super Bowl. He has seven of them, so I hope I’m close to him, that’s what I was hoping for.’
Brady himself said he thinks Jackson has a “big future” ahead of him.
“He is an amazing player and challenges defenses. He has a really unique skill,” Brady told the media. “His ability to improvise, make plays with his legs, extend plays, they do a good job with that offense.
“They have a good defense, they run the ball very well. He is very dangerous with the ball in his hands, and he also has some weapons, so he is a tough challenge for our defense. We will have to play a real complementary game, play hard, hard football and try to get the win.
“I think very highly of him.”
The Ravens and Bucs are teams that have struggled early in the season, despite being thought of as Super Bowl contenders before the year.
Baltimore has been inconsistent thus far, losing close encounters and even winning in the gun.
The Ravens are a team that has changed through the seven weeks of the NFL season so far; From one that focused on Jackson’s running ability and a stronger defense with Jackson’s big passing game and a runaway defense.
The Bucs enter Thursday’s matchup on a two-game losing streak, most recently a 21-3 loss to the lowly Carolina Panthers, to send them to 3-4 on the year, though they still hold the lead. NFC South.
Between Brady’s off-field outbursts and a faltering offense, the Bucs’ title credentials are coming under scrutiny, with many suggesting Brady’s supposed final season could end in heartbreak rather than glory.
However, despite their poor form, Brady still believes his team has a chance to turn the season around.
“I think there is always hope, and then reality,” he told the media. “I think you really focus on what the reality of the situation is, which is that we didn’t play our best football.
“We have a lot of quality players and we have to do a better job playing well. You should take it once a week. Every game is different. Things could also change after this game, and things could change next week and the week after that and the week after that.
“So nothing is given to you in this game. You have to go to win everything and I think that’s the competitiveness of it. They are also good on the other side of the ball. We have to find a way to win.”