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Terrell Suggs: I'm A Raven For Life

Terrell Suggs was crystal clear Monday.

During a press conference announcing his four-year contract extension, the veteran outside linebacker stressed that he never plans on wearing another team's jersey.

"I'm glad to say that Sizzle is here for life," Suggs said.

"This is a first-class organization and I'm really honored that I do have the opportunity to finish my career where I started it. This is a really great thing for me, and I'm truly flattered and honored that I get to be a Raven for life."

Suggs joked that the only way he could end up somewhere else is if General Manager Ozzie Newsome "has a trick up his sleeve."

The new contract gives Suggs five more years in Baltimore, and it is reportedly worth a total of $28.5 million, according to NFL Media's Albert Breer. The contract also includes a $16 million guarantee in the first two years.

Extending Suggs also benefits the Ravens financially, as it gives the team more salary cap flexibility to re-sign free agents or go after new targets on the open market. Newsome has already started discussions with some of the Ravens' current free agents to also try to keep them in Baltimore.

"We tried to put together a deal that's a win-win for the player and the organization," Newsome said.

Before finishing the extension, Suggs was scheduled to eat up $12.4 million of the salary cap. The extension will reportedly open up about $5 million in cap room.

Giving the Ravens flexibility under the salary cap was an incentive for Suggs to help the organization build a winner.

"We all knew we needed to clear up some salary cap space to bring some guys in so that we could re-load," Suggs said. "The No. 1 priority is to get us back to that place where we're in the championship game the last two out of three years, and I think that's definitely our No. 1 priority."

Suggs, 31, is the longest-tenured member of the Ravens and one of the most productive in team history. He has a franchise-record 94.5 sacks, and he has also registered 27 forced fumbles, seven interceptions, 45 passes defensed and 667 total tackles. He led the Ravens with 10 sacks last season.

The 12-year veteran has seen key players before him like Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden and future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis spend their entire careers with the Ravens, and he will now add his name to the elite company.

"You don't start thinking about that until you get up there in age. After you've invested so much in one team, that becomes a bigger part of your career and your legacy, where you just want to be a lifer," Suggs said.  

"I think it definitely says a lot for the young guys coming up about what kind of organization they're playing for. I think it will inspire them."

Suggs, the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year, has been one of the NFL's elite defenders over the course of his career, but he has struggled at times over the last two years. A torn Achilles tendon forced him to miss half of the 2012 season, and his production also declined in the second half of last season.

Suggs made his sixth Pro Bowl in 2013, but he had just one sack in the final eight games. Despite the second-half decline, Suggs was a leader of the defense and makes contributions beyond the stat sheet.

"I gained a new appreciation for how Terrell affects offenses when they come to Baltimore or when we play on the road," Newsome said. "He affects them in the passing game as well as the running game. It was something that jumped out at me while looking at other players around the league in trying to evaluate them."

Now Suggs is locked up again, and is an anchor of the Ravens defense. Including the franchise tag, this is his fifth contract with the Ravens.

He was the Rookie of the Year  in 2003, named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 and won a Super Bowl during his time with the Ravens, and he has big expectations for how he will finish his career down the stretch.

"I've been here since I was a young man, and I was able to grow here and I was able to grow with this city," Suggs said. "I'm very emotionally connected to [fans]. They want us to do good, they want us to do great, and they've always supported us and they've always supported me.

"Last year, that's not how this story is supposed to end. And it's definitely; we need to go on another special run for our fans and for our city."

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