Baltimore Ravens rookie Matt Elam has walked back his "pretty old" comment about Detroit Lions star wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
The safety was quoted before the 18-16 Ravens win as saying that Johnson was getting old, but after the game Elam reversed his assessment and said the Lions ace is "one of the greatest receivers in the game."
Elam was roundly criticised for his pre-game quotes - Calvin "Megatron" Johnson has 1,449 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns through 15 weeks of the regular season - but the Ravens youngster held his own on Monday night, making a team-high 10 tackles and a late-game interception off Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Still, Elam was conciliatory when it came to his comments about Johnson.
"No disrespect to Megatron, [but] I didn't mean it that way," Elam told the Baltimore Sun.
"I just feel like it's Monday night, and everybody is watching. You're going to give your best game anyway. It shouldn't be somebody calling somebody out to play a good game.
"…He's one of the greatest receivers in the game," Elam said. "I have no disrespect for him. It was just my competitive spirit. I just want to win."
The Ravens moved to 8-6 with the win, while the Lions dropped to 7-7 and now face a battle to make the playoffs in a competitive NFC North.
Megatron had a poor game by his standards, dropping several catchable balls from Stafford.
He still ended the game with six catches for 98 yards, but a failed two point conversion late in the game was one of many occasions that Lions fans have become accustomed to watching the great man make a play.