Terrell Suggs is 35 years old. He’ll turn 36 before the Ravens’ Week 6 game in Tennessee.
But for opponents or fans of other teams pining for the days when they don’t have to run (or hear) from Suggs, don’t hold your breath.
Listening to Suggs talk Thursday and seeing the physical shape he’s in, there seems to be no end in sight for Suggs’ illustrious NFL career.
“I still love it,” Suggs said. “Still my playground – that’s where I get to be myself. The game is still very fun.”
Suggs’ arrival at Ravens minicamp was a shot in the arm for the team.
First of all, he’s just fun to have around. He rode Owner Steve Bisciotti’s golf cart onto the field for the first day of minicamp, trash talked his offensive teammates and tried to get in kicker Justin Tucker’s head by yelling profanity at the kicker during his backswing.
Second, he’s not playing or looking like his age suggests he should. Ray Lewis hung up his cleats after 17 years and it was clear his body was ready to move on. Suggs is going into his 16th NFL season and still looks and moves like a well-oiled machine.
Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale joked with Suggs that it looked like he had done his offseason training in Wakanda.
“I told [my son], ‘There’s some people that God just looks at; there’s some people that God touches once, and there’s those like ‘Sizz’ [Suggs] that he’s touched twice,’” Martindale said.
“He is at another level of conditioning, and it’s bolstered by the catapult tracking that we do when you see the raw numbers on how fast he’s moving out there,” Head Coach John Harbaugh added Thursday.
Suggs committed to the Ravens’ strength and conditioning program, headed up by Steve Saunders, last offseason. He saw the benefits, as he started all 16 games and recorded 11 sacks (his highest total since 2014).
Suggs also came out of the season healthy and feeling good, which enabled him to roll back into his offseason training without a hitch.
“We stepped it up,” Suggs said of his training. “We’ve been real attentive. As you get older, you have to listen to your body. Like I said, just building. They knew when to push, they knew when it was time to go hard in the offseason and when it was time to back off.”
Suggs said he would have never imagined when he came into the league in 2003 that he would play 16 NFL seasons. Now he says he’s “just taking it one at a time.”
Suggs said he’ll never go into a season saying it will be his last.
“It will probably just be like one day, and I’ll just wake up,” Suggs said. “I don’t think I’ll ever not love it.”
Suggs said he’s never seriously considered retirement, not even after his season-ending Achilles injury in 2015 or down years. He said he would never want to end his career like that. After all, Suggs saw Lewis go out on top with Super Bowl XLVII and watched wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. come back for another year after a late-career Achilles injury.
Like Martindale alluded to, it just seems that Suggs was created to play football.
“I didn’t really choose this. I was born and this is what I am,” Suggs said. “They say if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. So I’m pretty much still having fun being a kid.”