OWINGS MILLS -- Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs still embraces the villain role on the road, even in the aftermath of his controversial hit on Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford. Suggs doesn’t mind being booed. He doesn’t care if opponents like him.
So it was no surprise to see Suggs smiling after Wednesday’s practice. He’s comfortable with who he is, and how he plays.
“Yeah, I’ve always been like that, I ain’t gonna lie,” Suggs said. “You’re naturally the villain when you go into an opponents stadium anyway, so you might as well not shy away from it, you might as well just bask in it. I really love to play the game of football. I’m not supposed to be the opponent’s favorite player. You’re not supposed to like me. I don’t play for you. I represent Ravens’ nation. I just enjoy it. We got a little saying we’re doing around here, ‘Get comfortable being uncomfortable.’ That’s kind of our thing.”
The Ravens feel comfortable with Suggs’ hit on Bradford, with NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino explaining earlier this week that Suggs made a legal play, and that he was incorrectly penalized for roughing the passer.
As for the Eagles taking exception to the hit, Suggs shrugged it off.
“What do you expect?” Suggs said. “Nobody wants to see their quarterback get hit. I think if they had a firm understanding of the read-option, they wouldn’t be as frustrated.”
On Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh bristled at Suggs being called a dirty player by Eagles offensive tackle Jason Peters.
When Harbaugh thinks of Suggs, he thinks of how many games he has helped the Ravens win. He is a six-time Pro Bowler, a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2011), and the Ravens’ all-time sack leader with 106 ½. On Wednesday, Harbaugh smiled when asked about Suggs’ villain persona.
“You want to be the guy that they don’t like to play, so to me that’s a great compliment,” Harbaugh said. “You’re not trying to make friends with your opponents. I’m quite that Terrell Suggs is very highly respected around the league, but the players and by the fans. The greatest compliment has to be when you walk into a place like Pittsburgh, or Cleveland, or Cincinnati, they really don’t want to see you come in there. Suggs is probably a great example of that, as was Ray (Lewis), Ed Reed, a lot of our guys.”
The Ravens don’t play the Eagles this season, so Suggs won’t be booed in Philadelphia. But he’ll be booed in every opposing city where the Ravens play. And as Suggs confirmed Wednesday, that won’t bother him at all.