FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner found himself in tight coverage this week in his own locker room. And he actually seemed to be enjoying himself.

Browner, known for his punishing physical style, showed he also has some verbal dexterity while good-naturedly clashing with about 20 reporters who had him cornered.

He was asked about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s ability to entice opponents into pass-interference penalties.

“Is that him or the receivers drawing the penalties?” Browner responded on Tuesday. “If the ball is thrown way down there, what does he have to anything to do with the pass interference? Explain that to me.”

Browner was quick to flash a mischievous smile that hasn’t been apparent much this season when dealing with the media. He typically prefers to keep his distance from reporters.

“That was pretty cool right there,” Browner said after a Patriots media relations member cut off the interview session. “Usually, I don’t like talking to you.”

Browner, 30, has had a lot to talk about in his star-crossed career. But the first-year Patriot is focused this week on contending with Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith when the teams meet at 4:35 p.m. Saturday in an AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium.

Browner, at 6-foot-4, 221 pounds, was flagged for 15 penalties this season despite playing in only nine of New England’s 16 games (he missed the season’s first four games for a violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy). Smith is a speedster who drew a league-high 12 pass-interference penalties against defenders this year. Their matchup raises a yellow flag in the minds of many Patriots fans.

Browner was insistent that the narrative isn’t that simple.

“(Flacco) will throw into double coverage, but if you’re in good coverage, you’ve got your eyes back on the ball, you’ll have a good chance to make a play on the ball instead of getting pass interference,” Browner said.

Flacco said the Ravens won’t be game-planning for potential Browner penalties.

“You can’t really go in there and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to try to get the pass interference call,'” Flacco said. “Those things usually happen by our receivers going out there and playing well and getting themselves in positions to make big plays. If the throw is not quite on or if a guy catches up, but doesn’t do it in the right way, those things get called.”

Browner was signed last March to a three-year, $16.8 million deal to bring some toughness to the Patriots secondary. His acquisition wasn’t as splashy as that of superstar Darrelle Revis to man the other corner, but it did allow Devin McCourty to remain at safety, where he is best-suited. The Patriots yielded 24 touchdown passes, but had 16 interceptions and opponents gained only 6.2 yards per pass play.

Browner, despite his penalties, has been as bruising as advertised, with 26 tackles and six passes defensed.

“He’s aggressive at practice. He really goes out there and he practices how he plays in the game,” McCourty said. “I think just having him out there, his presence and how he wants to play the game, is huge for us.”

Browner starred at Oregon State but was undrafted. He signed with the Denver Broncos in 2005 and was cited for his first positive drug test. Four years of stardom in the Canadian Football League followed before he hooked on with the Seattle Seahawks. He was suspended for four games in 2012 for a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy for using a prescription drug.

In November 2013, he tested positive for marijuana, but it was falsely reported by NFL Media as a performance-enhancing drug offense. That triggered an indefinite suspension which forced him to miss the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory. He appealed and had his suspension reduced to the first four games of 2014.

With those troubles behind him, Browner is looking forward to getting back into the postseason, hoping to help lead his new team where his old team was last February.

Smith is anticipating a duel Saturday.

“I just think they’re going to try to have a bigger body on me (and) try to be a little physical at the line,” the Ravens receiver said.

That would leave Revis matched up with the veteran Steve Smith Sr.

Browner doesn’t think he’ll have any problem knocking the Smiths off their routes at the line of scrimmage. He knows he can’t let Torrey Smith get free downfield.

“In the open field you got more room to open up that stride,” he said.

Browner was asked if he felt any extra burden this January seeing as how he was brought in to help the Patriots win a championship.

“Who told you that?” he shot back, having fun with his questioner again. “I wouldn’t put that all on myself. I’m confident in the guys around me. I’m confident in my ability. I think if I execute my part of the game plan, I think we’ll be fine.”

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