Thursday, April 17, 2008
Suggs surprises new coach, attends minicamp despite being unsigned
By John Clayton
Terrell Suggs, the Baltimore Ravens' designated franchise player, wanted to surprise his new head coach, John Harbaugh, with a goodwill gesture. Even though he is unsigned, Suggs stunned Harbaugh on Thursday by walking unannounced into Harbaugh's first minicamp and being present for the first minicamp meeting.
For weeks, Suggs plotted a strategy to show Harbaugh an initial sign of support. He thought showing up at minicamp and walking into the first meeting with no advance warning would be just the right move.
"I'm just going to walk in just as the meeting starts," Suggs said Wednesday before flying to Baltimore. "I know some of my teammates will have their jaws drop when they see me."
The biggest impression he wanted to make is with his new coach. For the past few days, a few teammates called Suggs, wanting to know if he was going to show up. He had to dodge the question because he wanted to surprise everyone by being there.
"I want to show my coach that I'm on board," Suggs said. "I wanted to show him that I have total faith in him. We've had a couple of phone conversation in which he said he was the new coach. He laid out his plans on where he wants to go. I've liked him from our first conversation."
Negotiations for a new contract are still in the beginning stages, but Suggs was going to let those talks go with the team and his agent, Gary Wichard. Because he's not signed, he's not allowed to participate in the minicamp, but he can take part in all the meetings and the learning process.
"Despite the whole business side to this game, the main goal is to win football games," Suggs said. "I like John Harbaugh's ambition. I think he's a breath of fresh air to the team. I think the city of Baltimore needed it. I can't wait."
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.