AFC North: Terrell Suggs injury

Suggs starts, records first sack

October, 21, 2012
The Ravens' Terrell Suggs is not only active for Sunday's game at Houston. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year started at outside rush linebacker in the battle of 5-1 teams.

Suggs, who missed the first six games as he recovered from offseason Achilles surgery, has looked strong in the first quarter and recorded his first sack, beating right tackle Derek Newton to the inside. It came on his seventh play of the game.

Suggs has played on all three drives for the Ravens' defense. He has been on the field for eight of the 10 defensive snaps.
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is active and will play Sunday against the Houston Texans less than six months after partially tearing his Achilles.

It's unknown how much Suggs will play. He will likely be on a snap count and could rotate with Courtney Upshaw and Paul Kruger.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee) will start for the Ravens, and cornerback Jimmy Smith (abdomen) will replace injured cornerback Lardarius Webb. Terrence Cody, a starter last year for the Ravens, will fill in for injured nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu (knee), who is inactive.

Here are the rest of the Ravens' inactives: CB Asa Jackson, TE Billy Bajema, OT Jah Reid, OT Ramon Harewood, WR Deonte Thompson and RB Bobby Rainey.

Schefter on Suggs' quick recovery

October, 21, 2012

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter talks about Terrell Suggs' quick recovery from his Achilles injury. Suggs is warming up on the field at Houston right now.
The Ravens activated linebacker Terrell Suggs off the Physically Unable to Perform list and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year is considered a game-time decision, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

If Suggs plays, he will likely be on a limited snap count and could be relegated to a pass-rush specialist role. Without Suggs, the Ravens have recorded 10 sacks in six games. Only six teams have had fewer sacks. Baltimore is also tied for 24th in sacks per pass play in the NFL.

Having Suggs would significantly boost the Ravens' chances of getting to Houston's Matt Schaub, who has been one of the toughest quarterbacks to sack. Schaub has been sacked six times, which is the second-fewest among current starting quarterbacks (Eli Manning has been sacked four times).

Suggs has had success against the Texans, with four sacks in four meetings.

Asked Friday whether Suggs would play, coach John Harbaugh said: “I don’t know. We will see. If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you. And I don’t know that I know what I know --and I don’t know -- and I’m not sure, and we’ll have to see -- that about sums it up."

Confused? Well, Harbaugh continued with his answer. "In all seriousness, he’s done a really good job," he said. "This is a very serious injury [and] he’s worked really hard. Us not putting it out there is the fact that we’ve practiced him all week. We aren’t too interested in them knowing one way or the other. If he is playing, then we don’t want them to know he’s playing; we don’t want them to be sure he’s playing. And if he’s not playing, then -- how would I say that -- then we don’t want them to know that. You get my point, right? But give him credit; he’s done a heck of a job. He is where he’s at with it. He’s getting into football shape and stuff. I don’t want to diminish that at all.”
In an interview with ESPN Radio's "The Scott Van Pelt Show" on Thursday, Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger said Terrell Suggs has "looked real strong in practice."

"Everybody was talking about how serious this kind of injury is and how long it takes and everything. But the way he's been putting in his hours in the treatment room and rehabbing, he's just come such a far way in a short amount of time, and he looks good and looks fast," Kruger said. "I honestly don't know what he's going to do, but he's looking good. We'll see if it's this week or next (that he returns)."

Click right here to listen to the full interview.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs didn't confirm an ESPN report that he expects to play Sunday at Houston, but the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year didn't exactly deny it either.

'If it didn't come from coach [John] Harbaugh or myself, it's not a credible source," Suggs told reporters at Ravens headquarters Wednesday. "There's no plan in place, take it day by day. We'll decide Sunday what's best for the team. Right now, we're just feeling it out. Come Sunday, I may or may not be out there."

Suggs, who has been on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list after having surgery on his Achilles, returned to practice Wednesday but he was extremely limited.
Terrell Suggs' favorite line since injuring his Achilles tendon in April is that he's going to surprise people when he runs out of that tunnel this year. If he does it Sunday, as ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter is reporting, Suggs will be right -- everyone will be amazed how fast he has recovered.

Some initially thought Suggs would be out for the season. Others then estimated December or mid-November at the earliest. Now, less than six months removed from surgery, Suggs is looking to return for a Week 7 game against the Texans.

But no one should really be surprised if you think about last season. When the Ravens lost linebacker Ray Lewis for four games with a toe injury, Suggs was the one who stepped up as a leader and playmaker. During Lewis' absence, Suggs delivered 17 tackles, seven sacks and four forced fumbles.

With Lewis hurt again this season, it's Suggs to the rescue again, coming back earlier than everyone had expected.

To describe this simply as good news would be an understatement. The Ravens needed Suggs to return in the worst way. Baltimore lost its leader (Ray Lewis) and top cornerback (Lardarius Webb) to injuries Sunday. Haloti Ngata, perhaps the best defensive tackle in football, is not at full strength with a knee sprain. Ed Reed, the future Hall of Fame safety, revealed Wednesday night that he has a torn labrum in his shoulder. I haven't seen so many people get hurt in such a short amount of time since the last time my wife forced me to watch "Grey's Anatomy."

Suggs, who has his own movie production company, couldn't have written a more dramatic script. He is coming back just in time to play in the Ravens' biggest non-division contest of the season. Sunday's game against the Texans (5-1) could have tiebreaker implications down the road for the No. 1 seed or a first-round bye. The Ravens (5-1) obviously now have a better shot at beating Houston and getting after quarterback Matt Schaub.

What Suggs can everyone expect Sunday? Definitely not the same one who was holding the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award a few months ago. Suggs is a power rusher who beats offensive tackles with a burst off the line. Plus, Suggs has packed on some pounds during his time off and doesn't appear to be in football shape. "Some guys will say it takes them a full year to feel like they did pre-injury, especially when it comes to power, speed, explosiveness," ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell said in May.

Unlike Reed, who is looking like someone who is playing hurt, Suggs is a high-energy, high-effort player. He hates to sit out and takes pride in playing in all but three games in his first nine seasons. My advice is don't underestimate Suggs even if he's at 70 percent or 80 percent. Leading up to the AFC Championship Game against Pittsburgh in the 2008 season, he didn't practice because of a significant shoulder injury. Suggs then sacked Ben Roethlisberger, one of the hardest quarterbacks to bring down, twice.

The Ravens probably will keep Suggs on a limited snap count. My guess is he'll be a pass-rush specialist Sunday and play on obvious passing situations. That would provide a huge boost to the Ravens, who have won without Suggs but have failed to produce a consistent pass rush without him. Baltimore has 10 sacks in six games. Only seven teams have recorded fewer sacks.

The Ravens needed Suggs to come back. And, like most times in his career, Suggs is there once again for Baltimore.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter is reporting that Terrell Suggs is targeting a return this Sunday from a torn Achilles.

Sources told Schefter that even Suggs' family and friends have plans to travel to Houston in anticipation of watching him stage one of the quickest returns from this type of significant injury that any athlete ever has.

"Yes, that's still the plan," one source texted Thursday.

I will provide my thoughts shortly.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that the most realistic return for Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is early November. Suggs is rehabbing from April surgery for a partially torn Achilles tendon.

What I find curious about the report is that sources say Suggs hopes to be ready for the Oct. 21 game against Houston. But coach John Harbaugh wants to delay the return one more week so the NFL Defensive Player of the Year will be in top form for the playoffs in January.

While you want to applaud Harbaugh for not rushing Suggs back, the Ravens' game against the Texans (4-0) could have tiebreaker implications down the road for the No. 1 seed or a first-round bye. Because of the big-picture ramifications, that game at Houston could be Baltimore's biggest non-division game left on the schedule. The Ravens (3-1) obviously would have a better shot at beating Houston with Suggs running after quarterback Matt Schaub.

The Ravens placed Suggs on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start the season, meaning he was ineligible for Baltimore's first six games of the season. The first game he could suit up for is the one at the Texans. If Suggs is ready, he will push to play in that game.

Despite a fast start, the Ravens have missed Suggs on defense. Baltimore is giving up 296 yards passing, the fourth-worst in the NFL. Suggs led the AFC last season with 14 sacks, and the Ravens have only sacked the quarterback nine times.

The timetable for Suggs has been a closely guarded secret with the Ravens. In early June, he said he would return by the end of November at the latest. Suggs then was noncommittal on that timetable a few weeks later, saying, "Maybe we were shooting too far, but you never know."

In late September, Harbaugh said Suggs would return this season but said he didn't have a timetable. Since injuring his Achilles in April, Suggs has remained firm that he would play in 2012.

If Suggs comes back in early November, the Ravens will have him in the lineup for their two games against division rival Pittsburgh (Nov. 18 and Dec. 2).

Harbaugh vague on Suggs' return date

September, 28, 2012
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday that linebacker Terrell Suggs has a target date to return.

So, when should Suggs be back on the field? Harbaugh isn't saying.

"I don’t have a timetable, unfortunately," Harbaugh told reporters.

Suggs and the Ravens have remained optimistic about him coming back from a torn Achilles this offseason. Trying to figure out when he will be going after quarterbacks again has been difficult to pin down.

In early June, Suggs said he would return by the end of November at the latest. Suggs then was noncommittal on that timetable a few weeks later, saying, "Maybe we were shooting too far, but you never know."

With Suggs being on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, the only certainty is that he'll miss at least the first six games of the season.

"He has his target date,” Harbaugh said Friday. "He is doing well. The main thing we want to do now is make sure there is no setback, and he continues to get in shape and continues to get stronger.”

When Suggs returns, the next question is when will Suggs look like the Pro Bowl linebacker that everyone remembers. Without Suggs, the Ravens have given up 390.3 yards (25th in the NFL) and 20.8 points per game (10th).

"Football shape will be a factor," Harbaugh said. "As soon as he gets on the field, it’s not like he is going to be back to Defensive Player of the Year form. We need to all understand that. Just give him a little space and let him grow into this thing. He is going to be back."

After coming out of the protective boot last week, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said he remains "optimistic" about playing this season after tearing his Achilles tendon in late April. He is back walking and focused on muscle strengthening.

“I’m in good spirits, I like the progress that I’m making,” Suggs said on ESPN's NFL Live. “I’m great with where I’m at right now, just loving the process.”

Suggs, however, stuck to his recent habit of not predicting when he will return. The NFL Defensive Player of the Year once said he would return no later than the end of November, but he has backed off that timetable lately.

“I’m really optimistic,” Suggs said. “I ain’t going to tell you the very latest I will be back. But I’m not also going to tell you the earliest. I just want you to be surprised."

Suggs added, "You all will see me play this year."

It was only 18 days ago when Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said he would return by the end of the November at the latest. Now, in the ongoing saga involving the NFL Defensive Player of the Year's Achilles injury, it appears as if that target date is in question.

After backing off a timetable to Baltimore reporters last week, he was just as vague in his appearance on ESPN's "First Take" on Thursday.

"I'm very optimistic [but] I'm not going to give no timetable [like] I'm going to be ready by this point [or] I'm going to be ready by that point [or] I'm going to be ready to play in this game," Suggs said. "No, I'm not going to say that. But I will tell you that I will be playing in 2012."

ESPN's Skip Bayless brought up that an Achilles injury is a tough one to come back from, and Suggs acknowledged that.

"If anybody can do it, it's me," Suggs said.

Suggs also reiterated that he injured himself in a conditioning test and not on the basketball court. "I'm a lot of things," Suggs said. "I'm a father. I'm a bad guy, whatever. One thing I'm not is a liar."
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Terrell Suggs' favorite line since injuring his Achilles tendon is that he's going to surprise people when he runs out of that tunnel this year.

I believed him when he said that after he got injured. I believed him when he said that after his surgery. But, after listening to him talk about his injury Thursday, I have my doubts that Suggs will play this season. Serious doubts.

Even though Suggs still vowed that he would still play in 2012, he backed off his predicted November return in his first news conference since partially tearing his Achilles tendon.

[+] EnlargeTerrell Suggs
AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyTerrell Suggs could very well be wearing street clothes during Ravens games all season.
When asked about that timetable, Suggs said, "Maybe we were shooting too far, but you never know."

Minutes later, when asked about November, he said, "I’m not a doctor. That’s just a guess."

Suggs is one of the most confident players I've ever been around. This was hardly a confident athlete talking.

If Suggs won't be ready by November, you have to wonder if he'll be ready at all this season. Baltimore has only five regular-season games after November. Are the Ravens willing to use a roster spot on Suggs for most of the season like the Colts did with Peyton Manning?

This was not exactly the tone that the Ravens wanted in wrapping up their final workout together until training camp in late July.

Suggs was at his most defiant when shooting down reports that he injured his Achilles tendon while playing basketball. Witnesses, including a director of a gym in Arizona, told ESPN's Adam Schefter that they saw Suggs tear his Achilles during a basketball tournament.

Suggs acknowledges he was injured playing basketball, but he was adamant that he injured his Achilles while practicing a conditioning test.

"We’re talking entirely two different incidents. I didn’t get hurt doing that," Suggs said. "That’s not what happened. It happened when I was running my conditioning test."

Asked about the eyewitness accounts, Suggs said, "That’s why you decided to become a gym director and not a doctor. You got to laugh things off. Everybody has their own truths, but we all know what happened. I don’t shy away from anything. If that’s what happened, I would have been like, ‘I messed up.’ But that’s clearly not what happened."

Wearing a boot on his right foot and a black T-shirt with the letters YOLO ("you only live once"), Suggs said he's frustrated about not practicing with his teammates, but he believes Paul Kruger and Courtney Upshaw can fill the void.

"This defense can definitely get it done and hold the levees until I get back," he said. "Just like the deal when we lost our general for four games. You just got to go and get it done."

The Ravens were able to win when they were without linebacker Ray Lewis for four games last season. But, after hearing Suggs talk Thursday, the Ravens have to prepare themselves to play without the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for an extended period and perhaps the entire season.
The Ravens are within their rights to take away money from linebacker Terrell Suggs because he was hurt away from team headquarters. But the team doesn't plan to do so, according to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti.

In an interview Friday with the Baltimore Sun, Bisciotti called the idea of not paying Suggs for the games he will miss this season "nonsense" and pointed out that football players play basketball all offseason.

Witnesses have told ESPN's Adam Schefter this week that Suggs injured his Achilles tendon in April while playing basketball. Suggs insisted he was hurt while preparing for a conditioning test.

The Ravens could place Suggs on the Non-Football Injury list at the start of training camp, which would give them the right to withhold his salary for the games he missed due to the injury. Based on his $4.9 million salary in 2012, the Ravens could save $2 million -- and gain that amount on the salary cap -- if Suggs missed seven games.

But it would be a bad move to do so because Suggs is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and has been a loyal soldier to the franchise. He has missed only three games in his nine-year career, and he has played -- and played well -- through injuries.

Bisciotti told the Sun that he hasn't asked how Suggs was injured and that the cause doesn't matter to him.

"I don’t know the truth, and it doesn’t matter," Biscotti said. "I don’t understand the 'We deserve an explanation' kind of thing. Quite honestly, I didn’t even ask [general manager Ozzie Newsome] if we got an explanation. ... This one feeling that Ravens' fans deserve to know, I don't understand that."

In other news, the Ravens announced that their team headquarters in Owings Mills, Md., has been named the Under Armour Performance Center. It's a 10-year agreement with the Baltimore-based company. It's unclear if this name change will stick with local reporters, who have called the facility The Castle since the $31 million site was opened in October 2004.