Since he hasn't yet signed his franchise tender, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs!(/team/roster/terrell-suggs/ad26be43-1380-45f1-b047-a91e850d9761/ "Terrell Suggs") hasn't shown his face in Baltimore all offseason.
But, the three-time Pro Bowler expects to reconnect with the team for the first day of training camp, which officially begins for veterans on July 29.
If he does, that would mean that Suggs and his agent, Gary Wichard, have come to an agreement on a long-term contract extension with the Ravens.
The Ravens have until 4 p.m. on July 15th to get Suggs signed to a long-term deal. If they do not, Suggs would have no choice but to sign his franchise tender and wait until the season is over to sign a new long-term deal.
"I feel like we're getting close," Suggs said in an exclusive interview with BaltimoreRavens.com. "Negotiations are going on with the Ravens. Fans can be optimistic that I'll be [at training camp]."
For the second consecutive year, the Ravens placed the franchise tag on the playmaking outside linebacker/defensive end. In 2008, Suggs held out for all of training camp, finally returning to Ravens headquarters in Owings Mills, Md., the day after camp broke.
Suggs, 26, said that he has had a conversation with Ravens general manager **Ozzie Newsome**, who maintains that signing the 2003 first-round draft pick is a priority this offseason.
"We've talked," Suggs explained. "There are some minor things we're working out."
Regarded as one of the best defensive players in the NFL, Suggs is likely seeking a contract in line with the Indianapolis Colts' Dwight Freeney, whose six-year, $72 million ($30 million guaranteed) deal signed in 2007 made him the highest paid defender in league history at the time.
"I just hope we can get it done in time for training camp," stated Suggs.
Suggs has generally shied away from the media since Baltimore applied the franchise tag on him. He was scheduled to appear on the NFL Network's Total Access last Friday, but cancelled at the last minute due to a personal matter.
Even though he has not been working out with the Ravens, Suggs feels that he is in excellent shape.
The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder participated in grueling workouts based out of Los Angeles.
The program, called "Strongman Hill," consists of pulling tractor tires and sandbag-weighted wheelbarrows up a slope, hitting the tire with heavy sledgehammers and tossing medicine balls.
Suggs was joined by Tennessee Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck and San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie, all clients of Wichard.
"It's pretty much all freaks out there," Suggs said with his trademark laugh. "[Physically,] I feel like I'm in the same spot as I was last year. I'll be ready to go.
"This is just something new for me to bring my game to another level. I never want to reach my cruising altitude. I want to keep moving up."
Last season, Suggs got off to a solid start even though he missed training camp. He finished second on the team with eight tackles in the opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, and then he notched two sacks in the following contest with the Cleveland Browns.
Suggs is coming off his third Pro Bowl campaign after notching 102 tackles, eight sacks and two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns.