Healthy and slimmer, Suggs brings his swagger back to Ravens
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Terrell Suggs still wears No. 55, and his familiar mischievous smile isn't going anywhere.
Thing is, there's less of Suggs to appreciate in his return to the football field from a torn left Achilles tendon.
Though he won't disclose how much weight he's lost, the 33-year-old Baltimore Ravens linebacker is sleeker than he's been in years.
''He's in excellent condition,'' coach John Harbaugh said.
The secret? The usual: Diet and exercise.
''I like my fried chicken, my pizza, my peaches and my gefilte fish. I had to cut all that out,'' Suggs said Thursday following Baltimore's final training camp practice. ''I still eat the peaches, though, and a little bit of the fish. But that's about it.''
Suggs worked hard to rehabilitate the injury he sustained in the 2015 season opener. He kept a low profile until early in training camp, when he spoke to the media for the first time since last September.
Suggs finally got back on the field Monday, and has been jabbering ever since. He's played a little football, too, picking off a Joe Flacco pass and celebrating by throwing the ball into the stands.
''He brings a special type of energy with him,'' Ravens tackle Timmy Jernigan said. ''Oh, yeah. Dude is a freak.''
In a similar development Thursday, feisty wide receiver Steve Smith returned to the field for the first time since November 1, when he tore his right Achilles tendon against San Diego.
The 37-year-old Smith intended to retire after the 2015 season, but opted for an encore following his abbreviated stint in the midst of Baltimore's disappointing 5-11 year.
Smith participated in non-contact drills Thursday. He expects to be ready to face Buffalo on Sept. 11, when he launches his 16th NFL season with 961 catches and a streak of 129 games with a reception.
The numbers don't matter to Smith as much as showing his appreciation to the team for standing by him after his second season with Baltimore came to an abrupt end.
''I really came back not to set any records, but more because this organization gave me an opportunity,'' Smith said. ''When I got hurt, I felt like I let down those players in the locker room. So for me to come back to play is to show them that I am dependable.''
With Joe Flacco (knee), Suggs and Smith back on the field, it's almost as if the Ravens are whole again.
''It just feels like everything we lost last year, we're getting it all back,'' Suggs said. ''All of us are back out here practicing and now we're starting to get our swag back, our chemistry, everything feels good. Now we're starting to feel like the Ravens again.''
Suggs will be looking to add to his career sack total of 106 +, most in Ravens history and fourth among active NFL players. His absence last season was one reason why Baltimore finished tied for 17th in the league with 37 sacks, down from 49 in 2014.
As he prepares for 14th NFL season, Suggs means more to the Ravens than just sacks, tackles and interceptions.
''The first thing, he's a great football player,'' Harbaugh said. ''When he's on the field, it does look different. As a coach, you appreciate that.
''But there's the other things he brings to the table. He brings energy to everything he does, and he's excited to be back out here. He's been away for a while, and he's like, `I really love this. I love playing football and I love being part of the team.' He's been great with the players - the energy level, the things he says, they're just irreplaceable.''
Harbaugh appreciates having his defensive team leader back, but no one's happier than Suggs himself.
''It feels good, man, because that's where I actually belong,'' he said. ''I don't need to be in a bed with my foot up. I need to be on a football field.''
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