OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With cameras lined up just outside the main door where most Ravens players walk out to the practice field, linebacker Terrell Suggs threw everyone a curveball when arriving for his first practice of the season.
Using a side door to trick reporters and photographers, Suggs was accompanied to the field by safety Ed Reed, who was shielding the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year like a bodyguard would hide a celebrity from paparazzi. The pair howled with laughter as Suggs appeared in pads for the first time since suffering a partial tear of his Achilles tendon back in the spring.
The Ravens officially cleared Suggs as being ready to practice after being on the reserve physically unable to perform list, meaning he has a 21-day period in which to practice before the 30-year-old must be placed on the 53-man roster. Of course, Suggs can be activated before that point in time as well.
“To what he’s able to do, I think we should just temper our expectations a little bit,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s coming off a very serious injury — an Achilles tear — and we’ll just see how he does. He will start today. This is the first time he’s allowed to do it. I think he’s worked really hard. He’s done a great job with the rehab; he’s followed the protocol. He had no setbacks throughout the course of the whole deal, so that’s a credit to him and a credit to the doctors and to our trainers.”
Walking onto the field a few moments after Suggs’ comedic entrance, running back Ray Rice told reporters he and several other teammates had given the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker a warning that the cameras were waiting for him. Suggs jogged on the side field and played catch during the part of practice open for media viewing, which is the segment of the workout devoted to special teams work in which Suggs would have little-to-no involvement, anyway.
He is scheduled to meet with the media on Thursday. Since Suggs is not on the 53-man roster, he wasn’t listed on the injury report but was expected to practice on a very limited basis.
Though the star player’s return was uplifting news for the Ravens, three defensive starters were missing from the open portion of practice as defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin), and nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu (knee) all suffered minor injuries in Sunday’s win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Ngata suffered an MCL sprain and underwent an MRI on Monday, but Harbaugh expressed relief that the results showed it to be a minor injury.
The Ravens will monitor the health of all three players, but they are expected to be available against the Houston Texans this Sunday.
Here is Wednesday’s injury report:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu (knee), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), CB Jimmy Smith (abs)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: T Bryant McKinnie (thigh)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Johnathan Joseph (groin)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: G Antoine Caldwell (concussion), NT Shaun Cody (back), TE Owen Daniels (NIR), S Quintin Demps (thumb/forearm), RB Arian Foster (NIR), ILB Bradie James (calf), WR Andre Johnson (NIR), OLB Jesse Nading (foot/neck), DE Antonio Smith (NIR), RB Ben Tate (toe)
FULL PARTICIPATION: OLB Bryan Braman (knee), WR Lestar Jean (knee), C Ben Jones (knee), S Shiloh Keo (neck/bacK/thumb), C Chris Myers (hip), G Wade Smith (knee)