For the first time in almost a year, Terrell Suggs played a football game.
The veteran outside linebacker made his preseason debut Saturday night against the Detroit Lions after working his way back from a torn Achilles that he suffered in Week 1 last year.
And Suggs looked just like his old self in a limited night of work.
"It felt great, I'm not going to lie," Suggs said. "I keep being reminded of how fortunate I am every time I line up on the field."
Suggs came up with a tackle on his second play of the night, as he set the edge and then brought down running back Ameer Abudullah at the line of scrimmage. Suggs was stout at the point of attack, showing he can still hold his own against offensive tackles despite tearing his Achilles in both legs over the past four years.
He played in the first two series and finished with a pair of tackles.
The 14-year veteran has played plenty of games over the course of his career, so he could have held off until the regular season to return if he felt like he needed more time to recover. But he made it clear after the game that he wanted to get some live reps before Week 1.
"I didn't want the first time I saw some real action to be on opening day. I definitely wanted to get back out there and get accustomed to the speed of the game," Suggs said. "It was definitely a necessity for me to get back out there."
In addition to what Suggs can do for the defensive front, his return is also an emotional lift for the defense. He fired up the fans when he first ran onto the field for warmups, and he again found himself leading the pep talk in the middle of the pregame huddle.
"You never really know how much you miss something until you don't have it anymore," Suggs said. "I've really missed being out there, so I loved every minute tonight."
Suggs' return is significant in getting the defense back to the level that the Ravens expect. Another step is getting fellow outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil back on the field after his offseason "foot area" procedure. He returned to practice this week but did not play in Saturday's game.
Dumervil is expected to play in the regular-season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 11.
"We have a tremendous amount of potential," Suggs said. "Plus we get all the moving parts back. I think we'll be fine. I think we can do something special."
Go down on the field with the Ravens as they battle the Colts in the third game of the 2016 preseason.