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Ravens Front Office Discusses Suggs' Future
Thursday, Jan. 7
General manager Ozzie Newsome suggested Suggs will not be retiring this offseason, per Garrett Downing of the Ravens' official website: "In my last conversation with him, his answer to me was ‘I don’t want to leave the game the way I left it out in Denver.’ I think he’s using that as motivation.”
Newsome addressed the linebacker’s absence, per Downing: “I think he had his reasons why for not being here, both personal and other reasons. He chose not to be in the building so that the focal point is on the guys, as he would say—on the field, and not necessarily on him as a guy that’s rehabbing.”
Attention certainly would have been on Suggs since he is synonymous with the franchise. He has been with Baltimore since it drafted him in the first round in 2003 and helped the team win a Super Bowl ring in 2012. He is a six-time Pro Bowler, was the 2003 Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year and was the 2011 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year.
While it is impossible to deny his importance in recent Ravens history, Suggs will turn 34 years old during the 2016 season. Still, the Ravens felt his absence during a 5-11 campaign in 2015, especially since the defense finished 24th in the league in points allowed per game.
Owner Steve Bisciotti discussed the effects of Suggs’ injury, per Downing:
The one thing that I think I underestimated was when Suggs went down in Week 1. Now, at the end of the year, I think I didn’t come close to understanding the impact.
If you had said, ‘What one guy can’t you afford to lose on defense?’ I think most of you would have said, ‘Suggs.’ I don’t know that, but if you didn’t, I think you can look back and say we could have lost anybody on that defense in Week 1 other than Suggs, and it wouldn’t have had the kind of trickle-down effect that it had on our whole defense. I just think you have to appreciate that.
Suggs is clearly important to Baltimore’s defensive efforts, and these comments suggest the Ravens would be pleased to welcome him back, even though Michael David Smith of NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk said the linebacker “is scheduled to count $7.45 million against the Ravens’ salary cap in 2016, a hefty price for a 33-year-old coming off a serious injury.”
Hefty price or not, it will be worth paying if the Ravens improve from a dismal effort in 2015.