Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs spent part of an hourlong fan forum call with M&T Bank Stadium permanent-seat license holders Tuesday night waxing nostalgic about his 15-year career.
He reminisced about the lessons he learned from Ray Lewis, the team’s goal-line stand to win Super Bowl XLVII and all the great players he called teammates. But when Suggs was asked a question about whether he and quarterback Joe Flacco have peaked or will they remain strong parts of the team for years to come, the brash linebacker reiterated that he’s not thinking about the end of his career.
“To be totally honest with you, I don’t see my peak in my near future,” Suggs said. “The answer to your question is yes. We’re definitely going to be two major, key parts of the leadership on this team. We also have other leaders, but from an offensive and defensive standpoint, absolutely. We take that very seriously. We take pride in that. We’re looking forward to doing some special things this year.
“I’ve said this before: It’s a trip to get to do it all again. I love playing ball. I love being Sizzle. When the time comes for me to just be a full-time dad, a full-time actor, writer, director, producer, I will do all that. But right now, it’s flock. Go flock, Ravens nation.”
Talk of change will be constant as the Ravens prepare for the 2018 season. General manager Ozzie Newsome will step aside for his longtime assistant, Eric DeCosta, after the season. If Flacco’s struggles continue, the Lamar Jackson era could start sooner than many expect. Then, there’s Suggs, the longtime leader of the defense who is entering the final year of his contract.
Suggs, though, reiterated that he’s hoping to play beyond the season and he expects to do it in a Ravens uniform.
“I don’t plan on going nowhere,” he said on Tuesday’s fan forum.
Suggs is coming off an 11-sack season. He played in all 16 games, forced four fumbles and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2013. He credited his late-career resurgence to the work he’s putting in during the offseason. He acknowledged on the call that he didn’t take his diet seriously earlier in his career, but said that has changed.
“My father told me when I was very young, that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Football has never been very difficult for me. I’ve always loved to play,” Suggs said. “But like you said, the game we play is very physical. It’s very brutal on the body. But pretty much at this stage of my game, the No. 1 most important thing is diet. If I put the right fuel in my body, then my body will pretty much do what I ask it to. I’ve got to train pretty hard. I’ve been training here with our training staff, with our strength and conditioning coach, Steve Saunders. It’s been life-altering, to be totally honest with you. It’s changed my life. In years 14 and now 15, he’s helped me tremendously. That has a lot to do with it.”
While having some fun with the callers, Suggs wasn’t overly revealing. He talked about the potential of the Ravens’ rookie class, but he never touched directly on Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, despite being asked two questions about him. He mentioned several defensive players he believes will have breakout years, a list that included defensive lineman Willie Henry, outside linebacker Tyus Bowser, weak-side linebacker Patrick Onwuasor and cornerback Maurice Canady. He also raved about new defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink” Martindale.
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“One, it’s his intelligence. He has a very high football IQ,” Suggs said of Martindale. “I’m very excited because of how he coaches. He’s taken the handcuffs off the guys. Sometimes a player can be shackled just by the rules that come with [playing] the defense. But I think Wink is just going to allow us to go make plays. Just be that fast-moving defense that this city and our fans love. That’s why I’m very excited for the season. It’s going to be fun, especially with this personnel that we have.”