OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens head coach John Harbaugh never really thought about the possibility of Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs being a shell of his former self when he ultimately made his return to the field Sunday.
In what was one of the few bright spots of Sunday’s embarrassing 43-13 loss to the Houston Texans, Suggs played 44 of 80 defensive snaps and recorded a sack in his first game back less than six months after suffering a partially-torn right Achilles tendon in late April. The 2011 Defensive Player of the Year finished with four tackles and a pass breakup in an otherwise ugly day for the defense.
Harbaugh wasn’t surprised to see Suggs play at such a high level so soon.
“I don’t know if I ever really put a level on it,” Harbaugh said. “I just guess I felt like Terrell Suggs was going to be Terrell Suggs whenever he came back.”
Suggs shocked nearly everyone except ESPN’s Adam Schefter who reported Thursday that Suggs was likely to make his return to the field in his first game in which he was eligible to return after beginning the season on the physically unable to perform list.
However, the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker informed media and fans of his plans for a quick recovery just days after suffering an injury regarded as one of the most serious an athlete can sustain.
“Tell Charm City I’ll be running out the tunnel in mid-October [or] November,” Suggs said in a text message to WNST.net on May 3, only a couple hours after news broke of his Achilles injury suffered during the previous weekend.
Even when the possibility of Suggs playing Sunday became looking more and more like a reality after the Ravens placed him back on the 53-man roster Saturday afternoon, it was assumed the 30-year-old would be very limited in his return with the team enjoying it’s bye in Week 8 before beginning the second half of the season.
With Suggs getting through the heavy workload without any sign of a setback, it bodes well for his potential to contribute to a struggle defense in the final nine games of the regular season.
“I didn’t know that he’d be able to play that many snaps, in all honesty,” Harbaugh said. “For him to be able to play 44 snaps is something. I don’t know if that’s ever been accomplished, to come back from an Achilles tear at that stage of the offseason and come back this quickly and then to play the way he played. It’s probably unprecedented. I think the credit goes to him and it goes to our training staff for what they accomplished. It was pretty remarkable.”
Kindle back on practice squad
After clearing waivers on Monday, 2010 second-round pick Sergio Kindle has been signed to the Ravens’ practice squad, as first reported by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
The 25-year-old linebacker was active in only one of the Ravens’ first six games this season before he was waived to create room for Suggs on the 53-man roster. The former Texas product’s career was derailed just days before the start of his first training camp when he suffered a fall down two flights of stairs that resulted in a fractured skull and permanent hearing loss in his left ear.
Kindle was active in only two games last season as he was unable to crack the defensive rotation or contribute enough on special teams to be active on a regular basis. He played sparingly against Philadelphia in Week 2 this season, recording one tackle.
Harbaugh credited the young linebacker in the way he handled the news of being waived and expressed optimism about the Ravens keeping him in the organization before news broke of him clearing waivers Monday afternoon.
“He was good about it, actually,” Harbaugh said. “He understands. I think he’s really determined to be a good football player in this league. We’re going to see if we can get him onto the practice squad. There are some tough choices to make there.
“We still think he’s got a chance. We really think there’s a possibility he could grow into a player because we’ve seen some glimpses of it in practice.”
Drafted with the 43rd overall pick in the 2010 draft, Kindle faced DUI charges in December 2010, which was his second alcohol-related arrest with a previous incident while still at the University of Texas.
While their pride was considerably wounded in the 30-point loss to the Texans, the Ravens came out of the game relatively healthy despite scary-looking injuries to right tackle Kelechi Osemele and safety Ed Reed.
Osemele was carted off the field after appearing to suffer a severe right ankle injury, but the rookie lineman was able to return to the game in the second half.
Reed suffered a rib contusion late in the second half.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was limited to 48 of the team’s 80 defensive snaps on Sunday as he continues to recover from a sprained MCL. However, the Pro Bowl defensive lineman appeared to escape the game without any further damage.
“It seemed like everybody came out of it well,” Harbaugh said. “We don’t have any major injuries coming out of it. K.O. was out there today [for a walk-through], Ed was out there, Haloti was out there, so we were very fortunate with the injuries.”
Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie aggravated a minor hip flexor injury while filling in for the injured Osemele.
The Ravens will take the rest of the week off after working on Tuesday, allowing nagging injuries to heal before beginning preparation for the Cleveland Browns next week.