Suggs should come clean about injury

June, 5, 2012
6/05/12
5:36
PM ET

If Terrell Suggs did injure himself while playing basketball -- which is what tournament staff members in Arizona told ESPN's Adam Schefter -- the Ravens linebacker should just admit it. Step up to the microphone and say there was an accident on the court.

Suggs' only mistake would have been not acknowledging it in the first place. There should be no issue with him playing basketball.

It was only two months ago when seven Ravens players were playing in a charity basketball game. That event included receiver Torrey Smith, who was a couple of months removed from sports hernia surgery. The Ravens trainers not only knew about that, but they told Smith to avoid any "Vince Carter" stuff. This doesn't sound like a team overly concerned about their players shooting hoops.

There are probably some Ravens officials who would prefer that Suggs not play competitive basketball in the offseason (owner Steve Bisciotti built a court at team headquarters to lessen the risk of players getting hurt in pickup games). But there are others in the organization who are probably happy that Suggs is doing something athletic. After signing a six-year, $62.5 million contract in July 2009, he reported to training camp overweight and out of shape. The result was his worst season: 59 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

I understand why Suggs would want team officials to believe he was hurt practicing a conditioning drill and not playing basketball. He might think the Ravens will refuse to pay him for games he misses if he was injured in an activity outside of football.

But the Ravens know Suggs plays a lot of basketball in the offseason. In fact, the entire city of Baltimore knows it. Suggs acknowledged to the Baltimore Sun last year that he plays pickup basketball four or five times a week in a semi-pro league in his home state of Arizona. He referred to himself as "LeTron James." The result in 2011: a career-high 14 sacks and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.

When asked about the report that Suggs was injured while playing basketball, the Ravens didn't have a reaction. "Our only concern is getting our players ready for the season," a spokesman said via email, "and that includes working with players who are currently injured."

The Ravens would have had a problem if Suggs was injured cliff-diving or racing on a motorcycle. Or running with the bulls. Suggs hurt himself in a conditioning drill or playing basketball, depending on who you believe. Either way, Suggs wasn't sitting on the couch.

The focus should be on when Suggs will return from the injury. He insists he will suit up by midseason. Whether that story is accurate or not is what everyone really wants to know now.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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