Suggs Shoulders a Burden

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Warrior. Next man up. Dedicated. Fighter. Mighty. Men.

In a season defined by a mission to make the name "Ravens" one spoken by those who didn't want to acknowledge it, and on a team defined by trust, duty and honor, many Ravens took their turn each week to sacrifice their bodies for the men next to them.

Many Ravens played with a chip on their shoulder, with something to prove. Not one gave up in the fight.

In the AFC Championship game at the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was linebacker Terrell Suggs' chance to be that player.

He did not let an injury to his right shoulder, suffered in the previous week's game against the Titans and serious enough to prohibit him from practicing last week, keep him from playing in the most important game of this season.

The Ravens ended up losing to the Steelers, 23-14. And while the loss was heart breaking for the Baltimore faithful, Suggs' mettle was inspiring.

"I thought he competed and fought through it really well, and that's what he's about," said head coach John Harbaugh of Suggs' performance. "That's what our guys have been about throughout the course of the year. We had a lot of guys who played through stuff. Terrell Suggs is a courageous guy.

"He played well. Obviously, he had the big sack there in the fourth quarter and had a huge play there, so we're proud of Terrell Suggs."

The big sack of which Harbaugh spoke came with 7:28 left the play in the fourth quarter. It was Pittsburgh's first drive after running back Willis McGahee's touchdown brought the Ravens within two points of the Steelers lead. The score was 16-14.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lined up in the shotgun formation on a third-and-14. It was Suggs though, who shot-gunned toward Roethlisberger and sacked him for a loss of 3 yards, forcing the Steelers to punt.

That play kept the Ravens' hopes alive for a few more minutes.

Suggs finished the game with two solo tackles, three quarterback hits and two sacks – the other came at the 6:59 mark of the third quarter when he drove Roethlisberger back 14 yards.

At the post game press conference, Suggs admitted that he was still feeling a significant amount of pain in his shoulder, adding that he'd "bet it hurts a little more because we lost."

And yet, he didn't blink an eye when faced with the decision to either play in this game against the Steelers or sit it out to protect his limb. The sacrifice, the hurt, meant nothing, because the will to battle to be the best significantly outweighs those emotions in the Raven mind. The love for the team makes players like Suggs ignore pain and discomfort.

"I just wanted to play. I wanted to be there for my team," Suggs succinctly stated after the game. "Be there for my teammates and my brothers."

It is such a simple statement, but it is born from months and months of practice, dedication and commitment.

He just wanted to be there for his brothers. He just wanted to sacrifice for the good of the Ravens.

While the end result of the game was not ideal for Suggs, or Baltimore the commitment the he and every other Raven made to putting the team first this season will not soon be forgotten.

There is no better way to start next season than with a team of warriors – dedicated, fighting, mighty men.

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