Terrell Suggs Embraces The Villain Role


In the hours and days after Terrell Suggs hit Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford in Saturday's preseason game, the Ravens outside linebacker has been called a dirty player by a couple Eagles players, blasted by some Philadelphia media members and critiqued by NFL fans.

On Wednesday, Suggs strolled to a press conference with Ravens reporters looking cool as a cucumber.

"I'm not supposed to be the opponent's favorite player," Suggs said. "You're not supposed to like me. I don't play for you. I represent Ravens Nation."

Suggs has never been one to back down from harsh words thrown his way. A reporter asked him why he embraces the villain role and whether he's always been that way.

"Yeah, I've always been like that," Suggs said. "You're naturally the villain when you go into an opponent's stadium anyway. You might as well not shy away from it and bask in it and enjoy it."

Head Coach John Harbaugh likes Suggs' approach. He said being a player that opponents don't like to play against is a compliment and that you're not trying to make friends.

"The greatest compliment has to be when you walk into a place like Pittsburgh or Cleveland or Cincinnati or New England and that they really don't want to see you come in there," Harbaugh said. "I think that Suggs is probably a great example of that, as was Ray [Lewis] and Ed Reed and a lot of our guys."

Suggs' hit on Bradford has pitted two camps against each other.

One side, the side that NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino comes down on, said Suggs' hit was legal because Bradford was executing a read-option fake, and thus presented himself as a runner. That means forfeiting the special passer protections given to quarterbacks.

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who has used the outcry over Suggs' hit as a springboard to vent about the overprotection of quarterbacks (and how much money they make).

On the other side, Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly said the play in question wasn't a read-option fake (which some of his own players disagree with). Others says Suggs unnecessarily went at Bradford's surgically-repaired knees.

Suggs has always been in the former camp. He also thinks quarterbacks have too many special rules.

"[Quarterbacks] get a lot of our sponsors. A lot of those guys are good looking guys. We don't want to damage them too much," Suggs quipped. "It's the most valuable position on the field, so you've got to protect them.

"If we've got anybody to blame, it's our own [General Manager] Ozzie Newsome. He's on the competition committee so he kind of helped put the rules in. So you'll probably have to have a talk with Ozzie about that."

Suggs said he's had "plenty" of discussions with Newsome about the rules protecting quarterbacks.

"[Newsome] said the quarterback keeps a lot of people employed, so we've got to protect them," Suggs said. "I understand. I wouldn't want my guy [Joe Flacco] getting mistreated."

Suggs even understands the Eagles' reaction to his play, to a degree.

"What do you expect?" he said. "If it were my quarterback … nobody wants to see their quarterback get hit. I think if people had a firm understanding of the read-option, I think they wouldn't be as frustrated. Like I said before, if you're going to run the read-option, you've got to be keen on the rules. That's all."

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