For years we have been entertained by linebacker Terrell Suggs.
Like many of us, Suggs shares the same disdains for the many NFL teams we love to hate. Whether it was the famous t-shirt he donned with a Raven flipping off Steelers fans or the pregame fan torment in New England during the Ravens championship run, Suggs never disappoints.
While 2013 was an up and down year for Terrell Suggs, the veteran linebacker started off strong looking like an early Defensive Player of the Year candidate leading the team in sacks. However he fizzled down the stretch when it mattered most.
This season needs to be different. In fact it has to be different for Suggs.
“Sizzle” got his wish earlier this offseason for his chance to retire as a Raven when the team offered him a four-year, $28.5 million contract extension — a deal the Ravens all-time sack leader gladly accepted.
Entering into his 12th NFL season, Suggs, barring injury now ties Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden for the third-most complete seasons in Ravens history. His 165 games played for the purple and black ranks him fourth in the organizations short history.
As Suggs turned another year older (31), he reported in solid shape when the team held its mandatory minicamp in mid-June.
“I feel great. To be totally honest with you, it’s all in your mindset. If you think you’re old, you’re going to train old and then you’re going to perform old,” he told reporters at the podium following practice that afternoon.
“I’m 31, but I feel like it’s Day One for me. So, I just need to go out there and have fun. Like I said, I think it’s all a mindset.”
Going out and having fun indeed.
It didn’t take long to hear Suggs on the practice field. His boisterous voice filling the fields at the Under Armour Performance Center could practically be heard from I-795.
With a mixture of youth and experience in this years linebacking corp, Suggs has the opportunity to be a leader for the unit this season, a much needed role he seemingly shied away from last season.
Will he assume that role this year?
“Maybe. I never really thought of it like that. It was a big period of adjustment, and I was more focused on losing [Ray Lewis and Ed Reed] from a brother standpoint, not as a football standpoint.
“I had those older guys around to build, and it was a period of adjustment. It was weird, and it transpired onto the field – not having those guys there. But, the most [important] thing we can learn from last year about those guys not being there is those were once-in-a-lifetime guys – Ed Reed and Ray Lewis – and all we can be is ourselves.”
As the organization’s second-most career tackler, his football knowledge is keen and he’s certainly excited to be back on field.
“ We were unsatisfied by how we performed last year coming off the big Super Bowl win.”
As training camp gets started this week, the time is now for Suggs to step up as a leader.
And that’s no joking matter.
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