The Ravens Aren't Crazy Enough to Play Terrell Suggs This Week... Are They?
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: October 19, 2012
Is he? Or Isn't he? Defending Defensive Player of the year Terrell Suggs returned to practice this week after undergoing surgery for a torn Achilles tendon in the offseason, and reports have surfaced that he intends to participate in Sunday's game at Houston.
At first glance, the move could make sense. The Ravens take on the Texans, a team that shares its 5-1 record atop the AFC standings. With an AFC mired in mediocrity, Sunday's game could potentially affect home field advantage in the playoffs. Baltimore's defense has been a shadow of its traditionally dominant self without its star linebacker, and it just took two massive blows last week, with the loss of veteran leader Ray Lewis and starting cornerback Lardarius Webb. Suggs' presence is sorely needed to improve the middling run defense and lackluster pass rush fielded by the Ravens to this point. Without question, Suggs is a game-changer.
How effective a game-changer could he be if relegated to the sidelines for the entire season, though? That's what head coach John Harbaugh would risk by allowing Suggs to enter the fray Sunday afternoon. It would be a shortsighted move, smacking of desperation, to put the team's star linebacker in harm's way after less than one week of practice.
For his part, Suggs has maintained a level of noncommittal diplomacy with the media this week, responding to "sources" that have speculated about his game status by frankly stating:
"If it didn't come from coach (John) Harbaugh or myself, it's not a credible source. There's no plan in place, take it day by day. We'll decide Sunday what's best for the team. Right now, we're just feeling it out. Come Sunday, I may or may not be out there."
Here's hoping he isn't out there when Sunday comes around. Yes, Suggs has been working tirelessly in his rehabilitation. His frustration while helplessly watching his team suffer in his absence must feel unbearable. But he has reportedly gained weight during his recovery and may not be game-ready, responsibly speaking, at this point.
It's just the seventh week of the season and the Ravens hold a two-game lead in the AFC North. Baltimore has already lost two defensive keystones, and it's simply too much of a risk that Suggs may be added to that list, should he return prematurely. The Ravens have no real need to hit the panic button on the season, but a rushed return for Suggs resulting in a season-ending re-injury could very well spell doom for Baltimore in 2012.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general and the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @arahomik
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