Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs may possess magical healing powers, but he isn’t a superhero. This season, Suggs has returned from a torn Achilles tendon just five months removed from surgery. He’s also been playing with torn biceps but he’ll never tell you it hurts.
To Ravens fans, Suggs does happen to be a superhero and when the Ravens are on the road, Suggs plays the role of villain better than anyone else in the NFL. He’s a trash talker, he’s a showboat and he begs for attention from the camera. While Suggs may be doing this to intimidate the other team and their fan base, he’s also doing it to show his appreciation for what he has in Baltimore.
“The only people’s approval I need is that of Ravens Nation and Charm City,” Suggs said while joining me and former Ravens Super Bowl champion linebacker Brad Jackson on the Purple and Black Attack show Monday night.
“I don’t care what I say or do, I don’t like the opposing team or the opposing team’s fans,” he said. “I’m not their player; they’re supposed to hate me. I love being the bad guy, our fans in Ravens Nation are the only ones we’re going to give blood, sweat and tears for and they’ve stuck with us through it all.”
“That’s why I play for our fans, our fans never faltered. I’m going to be a villain everywhere I go, I’m going to be the villain in two weeks.
Suggs didn’t end his villain persona after winning the AFC Championship game last Sunday as he let a few expletives fly while walking through the media towards the locker room.
“These are the most arrogant pricks in the world, starting with [coach Bill] Belichick on down” he said, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. ”Tell them to have fun at the Pro Bowl. Arrogant [expletive],” .
If anyone is fortunate enough to be inside of the Ravens locker room while the cameras are off (or even on for that matter) this is who Suggs is. He loves trash talking, he loves being the center of attention and he doesn’t hold back.
“There’s a right way to do things, there’s a wrong way to do things and there’s a Ravens way to do things,” Suggs said. “We take pride in our football and how we play and that’s why I play for our fans.”
Suggs and his teammates accepted the Lamar Hunt Trophy in the same locker room in which they felt heartache a year ago after a missed Billy Cundiff field goal ended their Super Bowl dreams. Suggs was forced to battle through injury and take an outsiders’ perspective to realize the caliber of teammates that surrounded him.
Video: Suggs on the field after the win in New England
“Last year, we took each other for granted,” he said. “Losing the players we did, me getting hurt, I got the opportunity to look at things from the outside in. Our team is totally different now.”
The biggest change for the Ravens since the face of their franchise, linebacker Ray Lewis, announced he would retire at the conclusion of this season is the focus in the locker room. The demeanor of the team has changed and they’re on a mission.
“We’re down there for one mission, one mission only, that’s to win the Super Bowl,” Suggs said. “Definitely the focus is heightened. Last year, we didn’t cash in on the opportunity. I think the mentality going into Foxborough last year was that we wereally wanted to win – but this year – we expected to win. We weren’t going to leave without the LaMar Hunt trophy.”
Suggs then shared a story of talking with safety Ed Reed, an 11-year NFL veteran who is also making his first Super Bowl appearance, as the two were sitting on the team bus together on the way to Foxboro.
Suggs: “I’ve never been to the Super Bowl.”
Reed: “Sizzle, we’ve never won the Lamar Hunt (referring to the trophy given to the AFC Champion). Let’s get the Lamar Hunt.”
Then Suggs, with a big smile on his face, said to the crowd “… and we got it, in a landslide victory.”
The victory was by 15 points – though not typically considered a landslide, it is five times higher than the typical margin of victory between the Ravens and Patriots.
Suggs said that the reason for the team coming out and shutting out Brady in the second half was a change in their mentality, and it’s something he looks to do while in New Orleans as the Ravens prepare to face the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.
“At practice, we’ve got swag as big as Mt. Everest,” he said. “I said, let’s go play with that swag, and it showed up.”
The Ravens have the confidence it takes to win the Super Bowl, it’s now a matter of actually heading to New Orleans and showing it on football’s biggest stage. There is no doubt that Suggs is going to do his best to make sure he bears his load of mental intimidation.
Some of the best movies have great villains, and the same can be said for football teams.
Baltimore, your hero…and in turn, your villain…is Terrell Suggs.