After Sunday’s game in Cincinnati, Suggs still has two years left on the four-year, $20.7 million extension he signed after the 2014 season. But he turned 34 in October, sat out 2015 because of a ruptured left Achilles tendon, and has played this fall despite a torn left biceps.
On Wednesday, Suggs jokingly took umbrage with a question about whether he had considered retirement.
“If you haven’t caught on, I don’t like those kinds of questions,” he said. “I know I’m not 26, but I’m not 40 either. I like to play football.”
Suggs can still play, as evidenced by the fact that he leads the defense in sacks, with eight, further solidifying his position as the franchise’s all-time leader in that department with 114½. He also leads the team in forced fumbles, with three, and has recorded 33 tackles.
Perhaps the biggest reason why Suggs will play again is that he has not lost his desire to play.
“What drives me as a player? I don’t know,” Suggs said. “I wake up and get out of my bed and I show up to work. I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you what drives me. I love what I do. I’ve got the best job in the world, if you ask me.”
Green to miss game: After getting exploited by Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown for 10 catches, 96 yards and one touchdown, the secondary can breathe a little easier because Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Wednesday that standout receiver A.J. Green will sit out his sixth consecutive game because of a strained right hamstring.
Cornerback Shareece Wright acknowledged the absence of Green, saying, “whenever one of the best receivers in the NFL is not playing, it definitely makes a difference, especially as a corner. … It’s just one less guy that you’ve got to worry about because his explosiveness can really take over a game.”
Cincinnati, which also will play without tight end Tyler Eifert (on injured reserve due to back injury), will rely on starters Brandon LaFell (57 catches for 795 yards and six touchdowns) and rookie Cody Core (13 for 118), as well as rookie backup Tyler Boyd (52 for 564 and one score) to assist quarterback Andy Dalton in the passing game. Wright said the Ravens will not underestimate a Green-less receiving corps.
“I respect them,” he said. “They haven’t really made a name for themselves in the NFL yet. Obviously, LaFell is their top target, and he’s a veteran guy, a good receiver. I just respect all those guys. They’re all professionals, and they all have ability to make plays.”
Yanda to return to RG: Marshal Yanda started six games at his customary right guard spot before starting the last six at left guard due in part to his injured left shoulder. Vladimir Ducasse has started the last seven games at right guard.
On Wednesday, Harbaugh said Yanda, who earned his sixth straight Pro Bowl invitation last week, will probably return to right guard next season.
“I think he’ll want to go back to the right side once he’s 100 percent,” Harbaugh said. “I think he’ll want to play on the right side. He’s played there before. I did joke with him about it a month ago, and I think he’s going back to the right side.”
Yanda got his usual day off from Wednesday’s practice. Others who sat out the session were a trio of starters in inside linebacker Zachary Orr (neck), right tackle Rick Wagner (concussion), and cornerback Jimmy Smith (high right ankle sprain). Harbaugh said Monday that Smith will likely miss Sunday’s game in Cincinnati.
Rookie guard Alex Lewis (high right ankle sprain) took part fully in practice.
End zone: Inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, cornerback Jerraud Powers, and strong safety Eric Weddle had a chance to tackle Brown short of the end zone in Sunday’s loss, but could not prevent the Steelers receiver from extending the ball with his left arm over the goal line for the game-winning touchdown. Weddle seemed to take the missed tackle the hardest. “You’ll never forget that,” he said Wednesday. “There was so much riding on it. You look for ways you could have done it different. Could you have gotten there quicker? It was one of those things that if you make the play, you’re most likely going to the playoffs. Now you’re not. So you’ll never live it down, but it’ll drive you and hopefully make you better. If you get in that situation again, hopefully, you’ll make the play, and this time next year, we’ll be smiling and heading towards the playoffs.”
… The Bengals practiced Wednesday without three other starters in outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (concussion, knee), running back Jeremy Hill (knee), and tight end Tyler Kroft (knee, ankle). Starting cornerback Adam Jones (ankle) and starting left guard Andrew Whitworth (biceps) participated on a limited basis.