ATLANTA, United States (AFP) – Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman has risked the wrath of Tom Brady after claiming age had finally caught up with the New England Patriots quarterback.
Brady, 41, will overtake Peyton Manning as the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl on Sunday if he guides the Patriots to victory over the Rams in Atlanta.
Brady has looked in superb form during the NFL playoffs, leading the Patriots to a lopsided win over the Los Angeles Chargers before a thrilling overtime victory against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game.
Robey-Coleman, whose unpunished pass interference in the Rams win over New Orleans sparked uproar, is adamant that Brady is on the wane.
“Age has definitely taken a toll,” Robey-Coleman told Bleacher Report. “For him to still be doing it, that’s a great compliment for him. But I think that he’s definitely not the same quarterback he was.”
Robey-Coleman said he had pinpointed Brady’s throwing as a possible area of decline.
“He still can sling it, but he’s not slinging it as much,” he said.
But speaking at the Super Bowl’s Opening Night in Atlanta on Monday, Robey-Coleman sought to downplay his remarks, suggesting his words had been “taken out of context.”
“Everybody just made a big deal out of the situation. Tom Brady’s a great quarterback. I wasn’t trying to say nothing bad about him,” Robey-Coleman said.
“I respect him as the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) He is the legend. And I think words got misconstrued, and they got spinned out of context,” he said.
Robey-Coleman’s words are nevertheless likely to be motivational manna from heaven for Brady and the Patriots, who have been eager to cast themselves as underdogs despite another successful season, which has ended with a ninth Super Bowl appearance since the 2001-2002 campaign.
Asked for his response to Robey-Coleman’s comments on Monday, Brady paused before telling reporters: “Yeah I don’t have much to add.”
© Agence France-Presse