Jalen Ramsey is one of the NFL's best young players. He's also one of its most outspoken. Last month, he called Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen "trash" and said Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco "sucks."
The Jaguars cornerback did put Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the "does not suck" category though he's been less impressed with tight end Rob Gronkowski.
"I don't think Gronk's good," Ramsey told ESPN.com's Mina Kimes in a story that was published late last month. He then clarified: "Let me say -- I don't think Gronk is as great as people think he is."
Gronkowski's problem, to hear Ramsey tell it, is simple.
"Any time Gronk has been matched up with a corner, he's had a very bad game -- and that corner has had a very good game," Ramsey said.
On Sunday, the Jaguars host the Patriots. These teams last met in January's AFC Championship Game. New England prevailed, though for three quarters Jacksonville played well enough to win. Four days ahead of the rematch, Gronkowski was asked about Ramsey's remarks.
"I mean, if that's how he feels, that's how he feels," Gronk said Wednesday, via quotes distributed by the team. "It's a big game this Sunday, we're playing them. I'm sure I'm going to have opportunities to go versus him. I'm sure he's going to have opportunities to go versus me. I'm just preparing like I always prepare. I've got to just do my job out on the field, just worry about that."
And on Thursday, Ramsey responded to Gronk responding to Ramsey.
"I might be crazy, I don't care," the cornerback said of those people who might think he's crazy to suggest that Gronkowski is overrated. "He's good, don't get it twisted, he's good. You saying this to me is supposed to bring fear to me or something? I don't fear no man, period. So he's going to have to come out there and line up on me."
Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey on facing Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski. Ramsey previously said he didn’t think Gronk “is as great as people think he is.” pic.twitter.com/23erBn80vM— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) September 13, 2018
So does Ramsey think actually he'll line up across from Gronkowski?
"I'm not sure," he admitted. "I'm gonna go out there and do whatever Coach asks me to do, to be honest. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I'm very confident in all of my teammates on the defensive side of the ball. Whoever goes against him, I'm very confident that they'll hold it down, and I'll do my job and I'll hold it down where I'm at."
Ramsey went on to explain why he plays with a chip on his shoulder.
"When you play the game of football, I feel like to respect the game, you have to play it fierce. You gotta play it -- I don't believe in having friends on the field," he said. "Like, I mean, if my brother, my dad, my mom, grandma was out there, it's like, it's on. After the game we can be cool, it doesn't matter. That's how I feel like you gotta respect the game of football. Football's not a game meant to be played being nice to each other and all that like kumbaya. But after the game's over with, that's cool."
And before you ask, yeah, Ramsey would tackle his grandmother if she was on the other team.
"No, I definitely would. She know that. My grandma knows that. I love you, but you know that," he said. "Would she hit me back? Grandma might not get up from one of my licks."
Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey says he “definitely would” hit his grandma on the field. “I love you, but you know that.” pic.twitter.com/9fQoHCAuxJ— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) September 13, 2018
You've been warned, Grandma.
In case you're wondering, five of eight CBSSports.com experts think the Jaguars will beat the Patriots, who are 2-point favorites.