For good of Ravens, Terrell Suggs should take his time coming back

Well, it has been a quiet week at the Under Armour Performance Center.

Let's see, where to begin?

Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb were lost for the season with injuries. A bunch of Ravens were caught in a nightclub during a shooting.

Ed Reed dropped a bombshell about a torn labrum in his shoulder that was previously unknown. And Terrell Suggs teased everyone by saying he might play superhero and return early from that partially torn Achilles tendon when the Ravens take on the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.

Then on Saturday the Ravens activated Suggs from the physically-unable-to-perform list and waived 2010 second-round pick Sergio Kindle. Suggs could play Sunday.


Are you ready for some football, Ravens fans?

After one of the craziest weeks in recent memory, the Ravens say they are, too. And they'd they better be, because the Texans won't be in a swell mood after being crushed by the Green Bay Packers on national TV last week.

Of all the story lines going into this battle of 5-1 conference foes, the likelihood of Suggs playing for the first time this season is the most intriguing. But the Ravens would be crazy to let Suggs play — even for just a few snaps.

Sure, Suggs is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. But he's coming off a horrific injury. And he's only had only three real days of practice, with him spending most of that time just working up a sweat and trying to see how the Achilles feels.

Suggs said he won't know whether he's playing until 90 minutes or so before game time. He shot down ESPN reports that he definitely will play and that his family was headed to Houston to watch him.

But the guy is no dummy. He knows he's not in shape to play. Not until he's tested that ankle further. And not with the noticeable extra pounds around his waist.

The Ravens know all this, too, of course. And in a hilarious exchange with reporters Friday that sounded like something out of an Austin Powers movie, Ravens coach John Harbaugh admitted that keeping Suggs' status up in the air was a way to play head games with Houston coach Gary Kubiak and his staff.

"We aren't too interested in them knowing one way or the other," Harbaugh said. "If he is playing, then we don't want them to know he's playing. We don't want them to be sure he's playing. And if he's not playing then — how would I say that? — then we don't want them to know that. You get my point, right?"

Uh, yeah. Sure.

Why do I see this man running a political campaign when he hangs up the whistle?

Here's what makes more sense for the Ravens: keep Suggs on the sidelines today. Especially with the bye week coming up.

Let him keep rehabbing the ankle at the training facility and easing into full-go practice.

Don't rush the guy. Let him get back into football shape gradually. Take the big-picture approach and understand that having a healthy Suggs back for the stretch run to the playoffs makes more sense than anything else.

Know when I'd like to see him back? When the Ravens play the Pittsburgh Steelers at home Dec. 2. Or when they play the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants in back-to-back home games Dec. 16 and Dec. 23.

The Ravens' pass rush has been awful this season, but wouldn't it be nice to have Suggs back to help pressure Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning and Eli Manning?

If anyone in this town is looking for Suggs to be the savior of this Ravens defense, you can forget it.

Suggs was a terror rushing from his outside linebacker slot last season and led the Ravens with a career-high 14 sacks. But he's 30 years old now and just five months removed from a very serious injury. To expect him to come back and be Superman right away is borderline delusional.

Suggs, the ultimate realist, knows he won't be his old self right away. He won't be working any miracles with the pass rush the minute he returns.

But he's itching to play again. It has been killing him to watch this team struggle on defense and not be able to help.

But this isn't the week for him to play superhero again — even for a few snaps.

That wouldn't be good for Terrell Suggs. It definitely wouldn't be good for the Ravens.

Listen to Kevin Cowherd on Tuesdays at 7:20 a.m. on 105.7 The Fan's "The Norris and Davis Show."

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