Either Terrell Suggs’ shirts are too small or one of the Ravens’ defensive leaders has shed some serious weight in exchange for lean muscle.
Suggs, along with other veterans, reported to training camp on Wednesday at the Under Armour Performance Center in anticipation of kicking off their first training camp practice as a team on Thursday afternoon. Donning an Orioles ball cap, a determined Suggs addressed the media.
“You’ve never won a Super Bowl during training camp, but you’ve certainly lost them,” Suggs said in regards to his preparation.
Last season, Suggs missed training camp as he recovered from a torn Achilles tendon. He wouldn’t make his debut until Week 7 against the Houston Texans, and later injured himself once again, tearing his biceps during a Week 13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. After seeking multiple opinions from physicians, the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year opted to not undergo offseason surgery, relying on rehabilitation instead.
“Achilles feels good, biceps feel good,” Suggs said. “I’m 100 percent.”
Whenever battling injuries, Suggs has defied common medical norms and has continued to work hard to be on the field with his teammates. While training camp is something Suggs admits isn’t the favorite time of year for veteran players, he isn’t taking it for granted after being sidelined last year.
“It put a lot of things into perspective,” he said. “We definitely need to get our bodies in football shape, because the only thing that will get you into football shape is football, and we need that. I wish I had the opportunity to do training camp last year, having missed it.”
Suggs will be counted on to unofficially take the leadership role of the Ravens defense, having the longest tenure with the franchise following the departures of Ray Lewis due to retirement and Ed Reed to free agency.
“I think there’s definitely a responsibility that comes with that, but I’m honored to have that responsibility” Suggs said when asked about being the longest-tenured member of the Ravens. “It’s not just me, I’m a few years ahead of Haloti [Ngata] and a few years ahead of [Lardarius] Webb. It’s primarily going to fall on the vets that have been here the longest.”
Even though Suggs appears to be more subdued, he won’t shed certain characteristics that have essentially led to him becoming the Ravens’ “class clown.”
“I’m still going to be ‘Sizzle,’ I’m still going to have my fun,” he said. “My objective – our objective, the team objective – is different now, considering [we’re] coming off of the great things we have done last year and the great things that happened in the offseason. I’m always going to be Terrell, we’re always going to have a very fun, relaxed locker room.”
“Like I said, I didn’t have this opportunity last year, and I’m kind of just taking it in. I didn’t get the privilege of going to work, and [being in] training camp with my team [in 2012]. I’m kind of taking it all in and just enjoying it all.”