- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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In the aftermath of BountyGate, Rex Ryan said in a statement released by the Jets that he's never condoned the idea of a bounty program and never coached one. But, as ESPN's AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley points out, Ryan's former team -- the Ravens -- experienced a mini-BountyGate when Ryan was on staff.
Hensley, a former longtime Ravens beat writer for The Baltimore Sun, writes:
In October 2008, linebacker Terrell Suggs told an Atlanta radio station that the Ravens had "a bounty" -- yes, he used that word -- on wide receiver Hines Ward and running back Rashard Mendenhall.
His comments about a bounty seemed valid because it came after Mendenhall sustained a season-ending shoulder injury on a hit by Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. Suggs later clarified his remarks, explaining the Ravens were merely planning to keep a close eye on certain players.
"There wasn't any bounty," Suggs said in 2008. "He [the talk show host] asked me if there was a bounty and I just said I'm going to keep a watch on the guy. He [Ward] broke some guy's jaw last week, and he tried to cheap-shot JJ [Jarret Johnson]. He has also cheap-shotted Ed Reed. We're just going to be on alert the next time we play him."
All the NFL did was send Suggs a letter informing him that any further comments or on-field activity indicating his participation in bounty activity could result in "significant disciplinary action."
So, did the Ravens have bounties out on the Steelers? No one can say for sure without any proof. But Suggs knows the definition of "bounty." For him to use that word, it makes this a legitimate question.
Ryan was the Ravens' defensive coordinator in 2008. In fact, he was a Ravens assistant from 1999 to 2008.