Needing to make a decision by 4 p.m. Saturday, the Ravens have placed linebacker Terrell Suggs on the 53-man roster, meaning he becomes eligible to play against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
The 30-year-old linebacker began practicing Wednesday after spending the first six weeks of the regular season on the physically unable to perform list. Baltimore made room on the roster by waiving former second-round pick Sergio Kindle, who was inactive in five of six games this season.
Reports are saying Suggs will play some role on Sunday as ESPN’s Adam Schefter suggested earlier in the week, but the roster move doesn’t guarantee the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year will be among the 46 active players against Houston. The Ravens could still elect to hold Suggs out of this game in what amounted to a show of gamesmanship against the Texans, but moving him to the 53-man roster now clearly signals he will be making his return to game action much sooner than nearly anyone thought.
The 43rd overall pick in the 2010 draft, Kindle was never able to make much of an impression as either a defensive reserve or special teams player after suffering a fall down two flights of steps that left him with a fractured skull just days before the start of his first training camp in 2010. He missed his entire rookie season and was active in only two games last season and one this year, making a tackle against the Philadelphia Eagles in a Week 2 loss.
After suffering a partially-torn Achilles tendon in late April, Suggs declared at the time he would return by the middle of the season despite the odds squarely against it. Even if the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker doesn’t play against the Texans on Sunday, it appears he’s fulfilled that initial promise and will be ready to go after the Ravens’ bye in Week 8.
The Ravens defense has struggled to generate a consistent pass rush in Suggs’ absence, generating only 10 sacks (tied for 24th in the NFL) in the first six games of the season. Baltimore is also reeling from the losses of top cornerback Lardarius Webb and emotional leader and inside linebacker Ray Lewis to season-ending injuries last Sunday.