Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco caused quite a stir in early April when he told my former colleague, Jamison Hensley, that he felt it was time for the team to extend his rookie contract, which expires after next season.
"I think I've established myself," Flacco said at the time. "If you're not confident with who I am, I'm not sure what [difference] a year is going to make."
To his credit, Flacco hasn't said much about his contract since and his focus has been on leading the Ravens on a Super Bowl run. It will start tomorrow when the Ravens play host to the Houston Texans in an AFC Divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium.
In an interview with The Sun about two weeks ago, Flacco said that he didn't feel that those comments put even more pressure on himself.
"It is what it is," Flacco said. "It's either going to happen at some point or it's not. The bottom line is I'm not too worried about it either way. Do I feel like I deserve one? Yeah. Do I feel like I'm going to get one? Yeah. If I don't get one, is it going to be a huge deal? No, it is what it is. It's not really up to me. It's up to me to go out there and focus on my play each and every game and put our team in the best spot to win a football game."
The Ravens don't comment on contract talks with players, but owner Steve Bisciotti told Hensley in late March that he expects to extend Flacco's deal before the start of the 2012 season.
Flacco had an uneven season heading into his eighth career playoff game and his first at home. He started all 16 games for a fourth consecutive year and threw for 3,610 yards and 20 touchdowns in the regular season. But his 57.6 completion percentage was a career low and ranked 26th among NFL quarterbacks. His 80.9 quarterback rating was his worst since his rookie season, and he fumbled 11 times, losing six of them.
But obviously, a long playoff run would make people forget about some of his inconsistency this season -- and probably make the Ravens' decisions on the soon-to-be 27-year-old even easier. It also would eliminate one more potential distraction for Flacco going forward.
"You think about everything," Flacco said. "Just because I have my demeanor, I am who I am and I'm pretty steady about it. But it doesn't mean I don't think about those things."