But there’s no hiding that Suggs is getting older. Suggs finds himself on the wrong side of 30, when NFL pass rushers’ production regularly starts to taper off.
The bombastic linebacker, seemingly for the first time, talked about his age on Tuesday, and how he plans on dealing with it going forward.
Onlookers question how much he has left as he enters his 12th season.
“I feel great to be totally honest with you,” Suggs said. “If you think you’re old, you’re going to train old and then you’re going to perform old. I’m 31, but I feel like it’s Day 1 for me. I just get to go out there and have fun. I think it’s all in the mindset.”
He’s coming off a season in which he notched nine sacks in the first half of the season and just one in the second half. The second half of the season was no picnic. Suggs’ production tailed off, along with those of outside linebacker
Suggs called sitting at home during the postseason “very weird and very agonizing.”
“There are things we identified we could have done better last year, and definitely finishing strong is one for us as a team and myself,” he said.
In order to do that, Suggs needs to stay in better shape.
“When you start climbing in age, you can’t do the things you used to do so well,” Suggs said. “Everything counts from what you’re doing while you’re training to everyday what goes into your diet.”
Suggs dedicated himself this offseason, even though he was away from the team. Head Coach John Harbaugh said his weight numbers are “very good.”
But the focus is keeping that weight off. Suggs attributed some of his last season’s second-half slide to putting on too many pounds.
“It gets a little cold and you gain a little weight,” he said. “I probably put on a little too much weight down the stretch. That’s one of my big focusses going into this year is to keep my weight down so I can have a strong finish.”
The Ravens still feel Suggs has a lot left. That’s why they gave him a four-year contract extension in February, not long after the season ended that will make Suggs a Raven for life.
But Suggs doesn’t want to just slowly fade into retirement. It’s only been three years since he was Defensive Player of the Year, and if he could stay on the pace he started last season, he could still have a big year.
“You’re always going to have something to prove when you play in this game,” Suggs said. “You never want to hit your cruising altitude. You always want to be ascending with your game and always getting better. That’s what I’m going to continue to try to do.”