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News » Ravens LB Suggs hopes to torment Steelers on field

Ravens LB Suggs hopes to torment Steelers on field

Ravens LB Suggs hopes to torment Steelers on field
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers had better look out for Terrell Suggs this week, for reasons that have nothing to do with bounties, late hits or dirty play.

Suggs is having an outstanding season for the Baltimore Ravens, who can earn a share of the AFC North lead by defeating the Steelers at home Sunday. Suggs has a team-high 6 1/2 sacks, is second on the league's second-ranked defense with 86 tackles and twice has returned interceptions for touchdowns.

That, more than his silly comments regarding bounties two months ago, should concern the Steelers this week.

"He's playing tremendous," Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said Wednesday. "He's as good a run guy as there is in the league and he's a great pass rusher. He's had a great year for us."

It's been a better season for Suggs on the field than off it. In October, he jokingly implied that the Ravens put bounties on Steelers rookie running back Rashard Mendenhall and receiver Hines Ward. The linebacker later said he misspoke, and apologized for the statement.

On Wednesday, Suggs said, "I think Hines took it the way he was supposed to. We don't want to harm anybody; I don't think anybody wants to hurt anybody."

Suggs already has more sacks than all of last season, and is nine tackles short of matching his 2007 total. He credits the improvement to the return of defensive end Trevor Pryce, a potent pass rusher who missed 11 games last year with injuries.

"I think I am better than last year, but a big part of it is because Trevor is back. When you have a veteran guy like that, it helps," Suggs said. "I'm not taking anything away from Haloti Ngata and Justin Bannan, but I think they're better run stoppers than pass rushers. They'll tell you that themselves."

Early in his career, Suggs did little more than rush the quarterback. Now in his sixth season, Suggs has proven he can also tackle and cover running backs. In performing the latter chore, he scored on a 44-yard interception return in Miami and took an interception 42 yards for a touchdown in Cleveland.

But he makes his money by sacking the quarterback, and while his total is by far the highest on the team, it isn't anywhere close to NFL sack leader Joey Porter (16 1/2).

"I don't have as many sacks as I would like, but I've noticed over the years that even if your sack numbers aren't that high, that doesn't mean you're not having a great year," Suggs said. "Ray Lewis brought that to my attention a few weeks ago. We were talking about the Pro Bowl and I said, 'I might not go because I decided to be a complete player this year.'

"He said, 'Your sack numbers don't decide how your season is going. You've got two picks for crucial touchdowns, not to mention all the batted balls you've had on key plays."'

Lewis is the voice of authority in the Baltimore locker room and by far the team leader on defense. The contracts of Suggs and Lewis both end after this season, and the 26-year-old Suggs knows who is considered to be a priority by the Ravens.

"It's out of my hands. Ray Lewis is the heart and soul of this team," Suggs said. "You have to address him first before you talk to anyone else."

After Lewis gets his contract, Suggs hopes there's enough money left for him.

"I bleed purple and black and always will," he said. "I do want to be here, but if it doesn't go in my favor I'm sure there are 31 other teams that would like to have Terrell Suggs on their defense."

Like Pittsburgh?

"I would never do that," Suggs said. "That number would have to be really, really high."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 11, 2008

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