Suggs will 'be close'

Terrell Suggs has said he won't miss Sunday's AFC championship game, but Ravens coach John Harbaugh yesterday tempered the optimism on his defensive end-linebacker's injured right shoulder.

At his weekly news conference, Harbaugh said Suggs had a magnetic resonance imaging and suggested Suggs' availability against the Pittsburgh Steelers would "be close."


"I'm not going to sit here and say it's positive, or we're happy about it," Harbaugh said. "We'll just see how it goes. It's going to be close. He's going to work real hard to try to get back. That's all we know."

Suggs sprained the shoulder when he tackled Tennessee Titans quarterback Kerry Collins from behind late in the first half Saturday. He was listed as questionable to return but never got onto the field in the second half of a 13-10 win.


Suggs, who wasn't available to reporters yesterday, has not missed a game in his six-year NFL career, a stretch of 96 consecutive games, the Ravens' longest streak for a position player. He is the team's second all-time sacks leader behind Peter Boulware (70).

His 53 sacks since 2003 are tied for eighth in the league, and his 413 yards in losses are second behind Robert Mathis (415) of the Indianapolis Colts.

They've got Ryan's back

Part of the attraction safety Jim Leonhard had to the Ravens when he signed as a free agent last summer was the chance to play for defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. Eighteen games later, Leonhard understands he might get only one season with Ryan, who interviewed for head coaching openings with the New York Jets and St. Louis Rams this week.

"If he doesn't get a head coaching job somewhere, I'd be surprised," Leonhard said yesterday. "He's a tremendous guy to play for, and I think he'd be a great head coach. As a player, I would love to play with him whether it's here or somewhere else, but as Ravens, we would all like him to be back."

Ryan, 46, is thought to be a leading candidate for the Jets' job, but Leonhard has no doubt about the coach's focus this week.

"We know that come Sunday, we're going to get all of Rex Ryan," he said. "He's going to be there for us; he's not looking ahead. He loves us, we love him."

Linebacker Bart Scott accepted the reports that Ryan could be departing as part of the business. "He's a great coach; I think he's due," Scott said. "He's been deserving of a head coaching job, and we'd all be happy for him. But right now he's our coordinator, and we're going to go out and play hard for him."


End zone

On the injury front, Harbaugh acknowledged the team has concerns about several players, among them cornerback Samari Rolle, who hurt his groin late in the third quarter Saturday and didn't return. ... Leonhard said he suffered only a mild concussion and felt good by Sunday. ... Running back Ray Rice made his first game appearance in five weeks Saturday, albeit brief, since injuring his lower left leg against the Washington Redskins. Harbaugh declared Rice healthy and "ready to go."

The Ravens were greeted at BWI Marshall Airport upon their return Saturday night by an estimated 2,000 enthusiastic fans. "The fans really touched us," Harbaugh said.