OWINGS MILLS – A reflective Terrell Suggs knows the end of his career is closer than the beginning.
“When you get in the teens, you kind of just take it year by year,” said Suggs, now 32 years old and entering his 13th NFL season. “I’m definitely on the back nine.”
Suggs said Tuesday that reporting to Ravens mandatory minicamp felt strange, with so many former teammates no longer around. The trade of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the Lions impacted Suggs on a personal level. They are close friends. Their lockers were side by side. They had a ritual of walking onto the field together before every practice.
With Ngata gone, Suggs admitted he could not act like everything was the same. But that doesn’t mean he thinks the Ravens’ defense will slip, mentioning tackles Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan as players he expected to step up
Asked about Ngata’s departure, Suggs said. “The show must go on,” Suggs said. “We wish Haloti always tremendous success, until they play us. He’ll always be a Raven in spirit. Just trying to cope with it for right now.
“I thought he was going to be one of those guys that kind of get to retire a Raven. But it didn’t happen that way. It’s unfortunate, but he’s still a great player. He’s going to do some good things for Detroit.”
The Ravens will need Suggs to play at a high level again at outside linebacker, coming off a superb season in which he had 12 ½ sacks. The loss of linebacker Pernell Suggs to the Bears in free agency, along with Ngata, could leave a void in the Ravens’ pass rush.
Suggs said he was in decent shape, but admitted he was pacing himself until training camp knowing it would be a long season.
“I’m definitely not at my fighting weight,” said Suggs. “I’m pretty much at my walk-around weight. I kind of owe it to myself to just pace myself. Come down to the tail en of the season, Week 9, Week 10, I still got something left in the tank.”
Suggs hopes he will be playing into February, helping the Ravens get back to the Super Bowl. He would love to accomplish that goal, and worry about how long he will keep playing afterward.
“I’m really looking forward to this year,” Suggs said. “At the end of the year, we’ll talk.”