Terrell Suggs didn't wear an inflammatory T-shirt, as he is known to do before the Ravens' showdowns with the Pittsburgh Steelers. But Suggs stoked the rivalry just fine with his mouth: an eight-minute interview today with reporters added plenty of intrigue heading into Sunday night's showdown at Heinz Field.
The always entertaining and colorful linebacker didn't back off his statement that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's butt belongs to him, pleaded with Hines Ward to play Sunday and guaranteed that the Ravens will be ready to play.
"We have been declared war upon," Suggs said. "We are the enemy of the state, but who better than us? … We're taking 53 men to the apocalypse and we ain't bringing flowers."
Asked about playing at Heinz Field, Suggs said, "This is my Madison Square Garden. I love playing in this stadium. I love the way the people treat me, the welcoming they give me with the 'No.1's.' I love it. We're going on the road in probably the toughest stadium in the NFL. We are expecting a physical football game. I guarantee you the NFL, the world, will stop for this game, and everybody wants to see it. We will be ready, and we will act accordingly … Like I said, there is the Super Bowl, then there is Ravens-Steelers. Everybody will be watching this game."
Suggs then looked into the camera and sent a message to Ward, who sat out the Steelers' victory Sunday with an ankle injury.
"I'm looking right at you [No.] 86," Suggs said. "I need you to play. Please put on that 86, and that smile and all those things you do. We need all that for this game."
No defensive player has harassed Roethlisberger more than Suggs, who has a league-best 15 1/2 sacks against the Steelers' burly quarterback. Three of those sacks came in the Ravens' season-opening 35-7 victory. After that game, Suggs said, "His soul may belong to God, but his [butt] belongs to me." He didn't back off of that statement today.
"You all know the numbers. There is nobody who can do it better than me," Suggs said. "It's going to be fun. I'm pretty sure they have something in store to make sure I don't have a day, but like I said, I love being the bad guy.
"We think their piss is going to be a little hot. They are definitely going to have some 'Let's get after them' to their game. But, in hindsight, who knocked us out of the playoffs last year? In 2008, a certain team beat us to go to the Super Bowl and danced all over the field, held up the AFC Championship trophy. We had to sit by and watch that. It's a little salt in the wound on both sides."
Webb says Brown is better than Wallace
In just his third year in the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace has developed into one of the most dangerous deep threats in the league.
Don't count Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb as being impressed.
Despite Wallace leading the NFL in catches of 40 yards or more (six) and ranking fourth in receiving yards (800), Webb said that he thinks Wallace's teammate, Antonio Brown, is a better receiver.
"Every time somebody asks me, they're always talking about Mike Wallace," Webb said. "But they have a guy in No. 84, Antonio Brown, who's better than [No.] 17 in all aspects of the game. A great returner, a great wide receiver."
The numbers don't support Webb's claim. In addition to his NFL rankings, Wallace leads Pittsburgh in catches (43) and touchdowns (five). Brown, the Steelers' primary return specialist, ranks second on the team in both receptions (34) and yards (431).
Grubbs back, Ngata sits
The Ravens got an important member of their offensive line back at practice, but were missing a key cog of their defense. While guard Ben Grubbs (toe) returned to practice on a limited basis, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was held out with a thigh injury. The severity of his injury is unknown.
Grubbs hasn't played since the first game of the season. Center Matt Birk (neck), running back Anthony Allen (thigh) and cornerback Danny Gorrer (thigh) were also limited participants in practice today.
Ngata was joined on the sideline by wide receivers Lee Evans (ankle) and David Reed (knee) and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring).
For the Steelers, linebackers James Harrison (eye), James Farrior (calf) and LaMarr Woodley (hamstring), wide receiver Ward (ankle) and tackle Jonathan Scott (ankle) were limited participants, while wide receiver Sanders (knee) and guard Doug Legursky (toe) missed practice.
Birk has fine rescinded
Ravens center Matt Birk won his appeal with the league and had the $5,000 fine that he was assessed for taking off a microphone before the Oct. 2 New York Jets game rescinded.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, centers or guards are required to wear microphones on their pads to enhance the sound for the game broadcast. Birk took his off because it was scratching his neck.
"I'm obviously happy about it," said Birk when asked about the fine getting rescinded. "It's a new thing and there was a little hiccup there with wearing it. I better understand what I'm supposed to do for now on if it doesn't fit right. I'm obviously grateful that they decided not to fine me."
Birk joked that the money saved has already been spent by his wife and kids.
"It's like free money," Birk said. "It's like finding 20 bucks in your jeans after you wash them."
With linebacker Prescott Burgess going on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday with a torn abdominal muscle, the Ravens re-signed linebacker Edgar Jones.
Jones played four seasons with the Ravens, appearing in 31 games between 2007 and 2010. He was released during training camp by the Washington Redskins. He'll provide linebacker depth and help out on special teams.