Denver Broncos defensive lineman Antonio Smith says it is fair to call New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a crybaby for how much he complains to referees during games, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
“That would be an accurate statement,” Smith said. “I’ve never seen any quarterback look to the referee right after he gets sacked more than Brady. Every time he gets sacked he looks at the ref like, ‘You see him sack me? Was that supposed to happen? He did it a little hard. Please throw a 15-yard penalty on him. Get him fined.’”
Despite the jab at Brady’s attitude, Smith said he respects the longtime Patriots quarterback.
“He’s not going to rattle just because you hit him hard. I’ve tried over the years,” Smith, 34, said. “That’s what D-linemen think: ‘The harder you hit the quarterback, the better it will make it on the secondary.’
“With Brady, he’s a great competitor. You know it’s coming. He’s going to cry about getting hit, but he’s going to take the hit and keep going.”
Brady was sacked 38 times this season, ninth–most among NFL quarterbacks. He led the league in touchdown passes with 36 and his 4,770 passing yards ranked third.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was also subject to criticism from Broncos players ahead of the playoff matchup. Linebacker Brandon Marshallsaid Gronkowski gets away with pushing off, and cornerback Chris Harris said the only way to bring down the 6'6", 265-pound tight end is to hit him low.
In response, Gronkowski tweeted that the whole Broncos squad is “good at giving low blows.”
Kickoff for the Patriots and Broncos is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday at Sports Authority Field.
- Erin Flynn