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C.J. Anderson thanks Tom Brady: 'I have mad respect'

Are we sure there was ever really a rivalry between Peyton's Broncos and Brady's Patriots?

Following Sunday's classic AFC Championship Game, Manning and Patriots coach Bill Belichick shared a special moment on the field in which the aging quarterback and the hoodied legend exchanged pleasantries and whispered legacy-related sweet nothings. On Tuesday, Denver running back C.J. Anderson took to Instagram to laud Belichick's quarterback.

"I know a lot of people hate this man," Anderson started. "But man when he was (picked) 199 and was (overlooked), he inspired me. I was undrafted and overcame all the odds so bless what he told me at the end of this game.

"He said 'C.J., way to fight and prove everybody wrong. You belong in this league and (you're) one hell of a player. I love the way you run keep climbing to be great.' ... I'm proud to say I'm 3-2 vs. his teams and proud to say I get to battle him every year and I know a lot of people don't like you but I have MAD RESPECT."

So the postgame rhetoric coming from both sides doesn't quite reach the heights to Bengals-Steelers, or even Giants-Panthers, banter; it doesn't even meet the same tone. Whatever happened to good ol' fashioned hate?

It's nice to see two great teams have so much general admiration for one another after a season-long battle for one spot in the Super Bowl, but this week's respect-apalooza between players is sure unorthodox.

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