Terrell Suggs Continues to Defy His Age


Defensive tackle Brandon Williams probably summed it up best Sunday when talking about his teammate outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.

"He has that Benjamin Button disease," Williams joked, referencing the movie character who ages in reverse.

It's a fitting comparison for Suggs, who looked nothing like a 34-year-old defender playing his 15th NFL season. Suggs picked up a pair of sacks on quarterback Andy Dalton, forced a fumble, notched six tackles and deflected a pass that led to an interception.

He was arguably the best player on a defense that pitched a 20-0 shutout and forced five turnovers, and he continues to prove his value to a group that has its sights set on being the best in the league.

"Terrell Suggs played great," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He was in the backfield pretty regularly. They had to hold him, had to grab him, had to tackle him. He was a huge factor in the game."

Suggs took advantage of Bengals' new starting left tackle Cedric Ogbueh. The third-year lineman replaced departed veteran Andrew Whitworth, who had plenty of battles with the Ravens over the years, and Suggs had his way with the young tackle.

As impressive as he played, Suggs wasn't interested in heaping praise on himself or the defense after the decisive opening victory. He shut down question after question that asked about the stellar defensive outing.

"We did some good things, but I think it's going to get better," he said. "There were some plays where we could have gotten off the field earlier, sooner. The guys schemed up and you had to kind of react to them. Like I said, we did some good things. But be more concerned with things we didn't do so well. We're going to go back and try and get those fixed."

Suggs has checked off just about every possible accolade in his NFL career. He's been a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro. He's won Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year. He's made plenty of playoff trips and won a Super Bowl.

But he still came into this season perhaps more motivated than ever. Teammates marveled as he stayed in Baltimore to participate in the voluntary offseason program for the first time of his career. He set the tone for offseason workouts, and everyone else on the roster took notice.

His commitment to offseason training showed in the opener, as he played 49 of 61 defensive snaps and still looked fresh late in the fourth quarter.

"It felt good," Suggs said. "[Director of Performance] Steve Saunders pretty much trained me and got me where I, as a 15-year veteran, needed to be."

The opener was a reminder of what Suggs can do when he's fully healthy.

He played at a high level last season and finished the year with eight sacks, but his play dropped off late in the season as he played through a torn biceps muscle. He showed his toughness by playing through an injury that would have put many players on the shelf, but now he's back to wreaking havoc on opposing offenses.

"In year 15, I've seen it all," Suggs said. "I've had all kind of starts, all kind of finishes. It's good to take one. We're going to enjoy it right now. But tomorrow it's on to Cleveland."

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