Terrell Suggs is no stranger to the microphone when it comes to speaking to the media. He enjoys talking, even if doing so damages the public perception of him. He often times appears cocky, arrogant, and childish. On the surface, that’s exactly what the former Defensive Player of the Year can be at times. But with the loss of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, the team needs a player to rely on for leadership and guidance. And everyone knows that player has to be Terrell Suggs.
On Wednesday, Suggs spoke to the media almost as if he was a changed man. He had clearly shed some weight. He no longer walked with the noticeable limp we were accustomed to seeing for most of last season. He looked to be in the best shape of his 10 year career. But underneath the chiseled figure stood a more mature Suggs, even if he chose not to admit it.
“I’m still going to be Sizzle,” Suggs said with a grin. “I’m still going to have fun. My objective – our objective, the team objective – is different now, considering [we’re] coming off the great things that we had done last year and the great things that happened in the offseason. I’m always going to be Terrell, we’re always going to have a very fun, relaxed locker room.”
I guess it would be a stretch to think Suggs would knock out his old habits completely. But the change is noticeable. Especially when considering where he was this time last year. “I didn’t have this opportunity last year,” Suggs later said. “I’m kind of just taking it in.”
Of course, he’s referring to the torn Achilles he suffered prior to the start of training camp. Because of the injury, he was unable to participate in camp and missed a large chunk of the regular season. That time away from football can be brutal for someone who loves the game as much as Suggs.
“It put a lot of things in perspective,” he said with a serious tone. “The things that I took for granted – the opportunity to get to go to work and play with my teammates. Every football player would tell you training camp, reporting to camp, is not really our happiest time, but it’s definitely needed. We definitely need to get our bodies in football shape, because the only thing that will get you in football shape is football, and we need that. I wish I had the opportunity to do training camp last year, having missed it.”
That time away from football may turn out to be the best thing that happened to both Suggs and the Baltimore Ravens. That added appreciation for the game can rub off on the other players. And as many fans know, nobody appreciated the game more than Ray Lewis. Being the longest tenured Raven on the roster now gives Terrell Suggs added responsibility. A responsibility which he is fully ready to claim.
“I think there’s definitely a responsibility that comes with that. But I’m honored to have that responsibility, so to say. But, it’s not just me. I’m only a few years ahead of Haloti [Ngata] and a few years ahead of [Lardarius] Webb. It’s primarily going to fall on the vets that have been here the longest, but most definitely on the guy that’s been here the longest.”
Don’t expect much to change with Suggs on the football field. He’ll still get after the quarterback. He’ll still dance around after he does it. He’ll get in the face of the players on offense, and that sinister grin of his will be plain to see the entire time. But Suggs realizes that he needs to be more than that if the team wants a chance at a second straight Lombardi trophy. It’s a change that Suggs is more than happy to give them.