Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is regarded as one of the more prolific trash talkers in the NFL. He might have a willing combatant in Ravens outside linebacker Matthew Judon.
During the Ravens’ 22-10 victory in Carson, Calif., on Dec. 22, Judon frequently went mano a mano with Rivers. And after the game, the two sparred verbally again.
Four days before a rematch between the Ravens and Chargers in an AFC wild-card playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium, Judon grinned when asked if he enjoyed his back-and-forth exchange with Rivers.
“I just like playing football,” he said Wednesday. “I like everything about it. If he wants to talk, let him talk. I’m just going to go out there and play.”
Judon, 26, was not the only target of Rivers’ broadsides. Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale revealed before Thursday afternoon’s practice that he also exchanged words with the 37-year-old quarterback.
Martindale at first declined to discuss what the pair talked about during the game, but elaborated on what they said afterward.
“He said, ‘Wink, we always do this, don’t we?’ I said, ‘Yeah, you know. I’ll see you in a couple weeks,’ ” said Martindale, who had worked for a pair of the Chargers’ AFC West rivals — the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos.
Martindale said he does not warn his players about tangling with Rivers, “because he doesn’t go overboard, you know what I mean? He’s a competitor just like everybody else is on the field, and that’s how he gets himself going. It’s hard to go back and forth with him when he doesn’t cuss. ‘Dadgumit.’ I mean, ‘Ooh, Phil, you got me there.’ But I love the guy. I love the competitor.”
Similarly, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn does not feel the need to rein in Rivers.
“Players do that all the time,” he said Wednesday during a conference call with Baltimore media. “I mean, some of the best that have ever played the game trash talk and jab at each other a little bit. But these guys are all friends. It’s nothing negative. It’s all friendly. If it ever got negative, then maybe so, but I think Philip is a heck of a competitor. He likes to mix it up a little bit, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I see great players do that all the time.”
Judon downplayed his chats with Rivers.
“I just asked him for a couple restaurants I could go to,” Judon deadpanned. “I might go back to Cali in the offseason. If anybody knows, he would know. Especially with a big family [Rivers and his wife, Tiffany, have eight children and are expecting their ninth in March], he’s got to eat everywhere.”
Asked if he would repay the favor to Rivers this time around, Judon replied, “I’ll definitely let him know where to go to eat.”