It was the 2013 training camp.
I was sitting at practice in a golf cart with Steve Bisciotti. We were stationed behind the defense, which was being instructed by Dean Pees. Terrell Suggs stepped away from the lesson and addressed the owner.
"You should fire that guy," the big linebacker said, pointing at me.
Bisciotti smiled and asked, "Why should I fire him?
"Guys, I'm sitting right here," I chuckled (kind of).
"He's screwing up our pre-game. We give him music to play, and he won't play it. Music gets us going. He keeps telling me that we play music for the people who buy tickets," Suggs explained – with intensity, by the way.
Terrell was referring to the music played when the Ravens take the field for pre-game warmups. He argued that other teams allow players to select the music. Suggs has lobbied for years with lots of suggestions for music played before and during games.
Mostly, these conversations are good natured. Well, a few have been good natured. But it speaks to Suggs' attention to detail when it comes to football. He is a leader and an attitude setter, and it would be hard to find a more intelligent and sophisticated football player. He is rough and gruff, but he is also refined with the nuance of the game.
"Sizzle," as many of his teammates and friends call him, is also one of the 10 best players in Ravens history, selected by our season ticket holders as part of our 20th-year celebration. Each of these 10 greats answered 20 questions for us, and here are the answers given last week from our six-time Pro Bowler:
The Gladiator mask you wore for introductions before the Pittsburgh home game in 2014…
"Not many people know this. It was Haloti Ngata's idea."
Terrell Suggs, running back?
(Laughing) "Underrated. Highly underrated." (At Chandler High School in the Phoenix area, Terrell rushed for 2,274 yards on 297 carries – a 7.7 average – with 26 touchdowns.)
"Joe Flacco's rookie year. Just having fun. Hazing at its best."
Your NCAA record of 24 sacks in a season – will it ever be broken?
"Records are meant to be broken, but in this day and age, I don't think so."
Watching the Ravens on television?
"Heartbreaking, just heartbreaking. It's like being in [the Batman movie villain] Bane's prison with your back broken, watching the city in turmoil."
"Part of the game."
Rehabbing from injury?
"Test of will."
What makes "Sizzle" smile?
"My children – Dahni and Duke Suggs."
What's the perfect day for Terrell?
"Let's make it a Sunday with a Ravens' win, playing with my kids after, and then all of us watching Christmas movies."
Sickle Cell Anemia (Suggs foundation donates for research)?
"Oh man – sad, and I would say people are very naïve to it. We need more awareness for it."
Who is your hero?
"Has to be my parents. It's definitely my parents, my father and mother equally."
Best movie ever, best actor, actress and director ever?
"Movie is easy, 'The Godfather.' Best actor is a tie between – it's a three-way tie – Denzel Washington, Bobby [Robert] De Niro and Al Pacino. Actress? Oh man. Meryl Streep. It was a tie again. No, Meryl Streep is ahead of Cate Blanchett. And director? I'm a big fan of [Quentin] Tarantino. I love Martin Scorsese, though, too."
Your newest film project?
"I've got two of them. I've got a lot of things I'm working on, but two of them are 'The Singletary' and 'The Allure.' 'Singletary' is a political drama about a political family, and 'The Allure' is – sometime a man can walk into a state of the very road he took to avoid it."
What scared you as a kid/an adult?
"What scared me as a kid was roller coasters. No doubt, roller coasters. They still scare me. That, and dying."
What was your 'This is the NFL moment.'?
"Definitely seeing Ray Lewis come out of the tunnel for introductions. First time I saw that – wow."
Your most memorable teammate?
"You mean besides the football god, Ray Lewis? We have a great relationship. Haloti [Ngata] and I have a great relationship. But, it has to be a tie – most memorable now – between Bart Scott and Adalius Thomas. You've got to remember, the seven of us, as a group. It was Ed Reed, Chris McAlister, Ray Lewis, Adalius Thomas, Bart Scott, Haloti and myself. That's what we know as 'Organized Chaos.' We got after teams, and we had fun at practices. Special, very special."
Your most embarrassing football moment?
"I think of a play during practice in college at Arizona State. We were doing special teams drills in spring ball. A damn kicker de-cleated me. A kicker named Mike Barth. We were on defense, and we were talking some s--- about kicking their butts. They were like 'Get him. Get him.' And, they were looking at me. The kicker ran right through me. I saw him. I was supposed to block him. I was really trying to do some damage, and it didn't work out so well for me."
Best player you ever faced?
"Besides Jonathan Ogden? He kicked my butt every day, pretty much, in practice, and he didn't even try hard. (Laughing) Besides 'J.O.,' it was Willie Roaf, who I faced early in my career."
Team you love to beat and best place to win on road?
"It's the Steelers. The road? Heinz Field. In a close second, it's definitely New England. But Heinz Field is where we are hated the most. We and Pittsburgh are so alike. We have a lot in common."
Your most memorable Ravens game?
"New Orleans, the Super Bowl. You can never beat that. The pinnacle. Everything that we had been through, and it was kind of the last time we were all together on the field: me, Ray [Lewis], Ed [Reed], Haloti [Ngata]
Where will Terrell Suggs be in five years? Ten years?
(Laughing) "Hopefully winning an Academy Award. Ten years? Definitely winning an Academy Award. Maybe for original script, original screenplay."
"Sizzle" and a host of other regular starters will not be there Sunday when we host the Steelers. How cool would it be to sweep Pittsburgh in this disappointing and beat-up season we're having? Let's upset them. Let's beat the Steelers.
Talk with you next week,
P.S. A little holiday treat: Terrell was so good with his answers, here a few more from this entertaining athlete:
Steve Smith Sr.?
"Mighty Mouse." (Laughing)
"Leonidas, the General."
"Oh man. Complicated. It's complicated."
"Even enemies can show respect."
"Legend. Real, true owner. Real owner."
"Brother. Brother in arms."
Ted Monachino (Ravens linebackers coach and Suggs' position coach at Arizona State)?
"Oh man, oh man. Let me see. Master educator and master motivator. Very special to me."