There it is, the topic of much debate. That right foot with the partially torn Achilles – the result of a basketball injury.
The Ravens could dock the owner of this foot, Terrell Suggs, nearly $5 million this season since they’ll lose his services until at least November and the mishap occurred during non-football related activities.
But Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti won’t and he’s absolutely 100% correct not to.
Let’s consider the following…
This Ravens roster is arguably the most balanced on both sides of the ball in the team’s history and perhaps more importantly you would be hard-pressed to find a more closely-knit locker room during the club’s 17 years of existence.
That kind of chemistry provides the potential to absorb a devastating hit such as the Suggs injury. They will heal (pun intended) as a team (to borrow from Any Given Sunday).
Now Suggs by all counts is emerging as a team leader. He is quick to label Ray Lewis the team’s General and while that may be true, Suggs is no less than a Colonel. When Ray Lewis finally decides to call it a career, who other than Suggs would he pass the General’s torch to? The mercurial Reed? Uh, no!
So why should Steve Bisciotti risk damaging the morale of his next general?
Maybe you think Suggs should be punished so that it sends the right message to the team – that such irresponsibility will not be tolerated no matter who you are.
But is that really the right message?
If you have a “we” focused roster and not a “me” focused roster, what better way of galvanizing that one for all and all for one mentality by not punishing Suggs?
It’s not as though he hurt it diving into a pool at Rehab.
Punishing him could chip away at the team’s solidarity and send a message around the league that might make it more expensive for the Ravens to bring in quality players in the future.
Bisciotti has handled this brilliantly. His team is now even tighter and his future general even more committed. Plus he sent a message to players, players’ families and their agents around the league that the Ravens care about their own.
Those who disagree with Bisciotti’s choice will ask, “What if a player on the bubble suffered an identical injury? Would Bisciotti pay him?”
My guess is yes.
But does that even matter?
Extraordinary players earn extraordinary treatment. Punishing Suggs might send a message to that fringe player that motivates him to take the next opportunity available to get out of Baltimore. After all if Suggs, the AFC’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year is disciplined with iron fists how might such a Hitler-esque owner treat the less gifted?
And let’s not forget that Steve Bisciotti, a self-made billionaire made his fortune managing personnel. It’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about handling people and fostering teamwork.
With one wise decision, Bisciotti made it clear to his employees that he has their backs.
Now it’s time for them to show him that they have his back along with the Achilles of one fallen teammate.