OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -Terrell Suggs has a different dance for every sack, and rarely a week goes by when he doesn't get to show off his moves after dumping another quarterback.
Suggs got his fourth sack of the season and 49th of his career Sunday in the Baltimore Ravens' 27-13 win over Miami. He had eight tackles and scored his first NFL touchdown on a 44-yard interception return, a performance that earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
The TD was six years in the making. During a game in which Suggs showed why he's one of the most versatile linebackers in the league, he also displayed a glaring shortcoming: Suggs' touchdown moves, unlike his choreographed sack celebrations, were terribly amateurish.
The first problem was that Suggs carried the ball with one hand, leaving open the possibility it could be knocked from his grasp before he reached the end zone.
We didn't want to get Leon Lett-ed,'' Suggs said Wednesday, referring an infamous Super Bowl gaffe by the former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman.I've been hearing that all week. I guess for everything I do good, there's something bad I did.''
When he passed the goal line, Suggs threw the ball against the back wall and stood still, sort of like a guy waiting at a bus stop. Finally, teammate Frank Walker jumped on his shoulders to enhance the celebration.
I would have liked to Deion high-stepped in there. But it was my first touchdown and I didn't know what to do when I got there,'' Suggs said.But I got a lot of help from Frank Walker.''
When he's on the field, it's offensive linemen who need help against the two-time Pro Bowler. Suggs is elusive to blockers, a nightmare for quarterbacks and a wall to running backs.
He's an all-around guy now,'' Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said.He's probably the most explosive outside linebacker in the game in playing the run. You watch the tape, it's unbelievable what he does. He bends people back in the running game. I would put him as the No. 1 backer in that category.''
Suggs is a living testament to the theory that six weeks of training camp is completely unnecessary. Suggs skipped camp this summer to protest being designated the team's franchise player, a holdout that lasted 23 days.
It did absolutely nothing to limit his effectiveness. In the opener, Suggs had eight tackles and knocked away two passes in a win over Cincinnati. He added two sacks the following week against Cleveland.
The 2003 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year has turned into a franchise player in many ways.
To tell you the truth, I haven't really thought about it that way,'' Suggs said.My teammates don't see me as, 'Oh, he's the franchise player.' We're all Ravens in here.''
Ray Lewis remains Baltimore's most feared linebacker, but Suggs isn't far from claiming a piece of the throne.
He's got that great intangible that all good defensive players have: He's going to get his hands on you and is not going to stay blocked,'' said Oakland coach Tom Cable, whose team faces Baltimore this week.He's a tremendous pass rusher, he really is a very good football player, kind of a complete football player.''
Is Suggs a fast defensive end or a sure-handed linebacker? Answer: A little of both. The Ravens wanted to give him the franchise tag as a linebacker, but Suggs wanted to be called a defensive end, which pays more. The sides agreed to call him a hybrid defensive end/linebacker, which will earn him $8.47 million this season.
Worth every penny, according to coach John Harbaugh.
Terrell Suggs is a very versatile player. He can rush the passer. Obviously, he can cover back out of the backfield,'' Harbaugh said.In some ways he's more effective than just a pure pass rusher because he can do so many things.''
If Suggs and the Ravens can't reach a deal this year, he may receive the franchise tag again. That would probably mean another summer without training camp.
So, what does it say about Suggs that he can just show up two weeks before the season and still be an integral part of one of the league's top defensive units?
It just shows that he worked hard while he was missing training camp,'' Ravens tackle Haloti Ngata said.It's great to have that guy on our team. With all that talent and athleticism, he makes our defense that much better.''