OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With many still discussing his controversial hit on Philadelphia quarterback Sam Bradford, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is taking the criticism from Eagles players and fans in stride.
In fact, it’s the kind of role the 32-year-old has embraced throughout his 13-year NFL career.
“I think you’re naturally the villain when you go into an opponent’s stadium anyway,” Suggs said. “You might as well not shy away from it. You might as well just bask in it and enjoy it. I’m not supposed to be the opponent’s favorite player. You’re not supposed to like me. I don’t play for you. I represent Ravens nation, so I just enjoy it.”
Though the NFL announced this week that Suggs should not have been penalized for the first-quarter hit on Bradford in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Eagles, many still took exception to him hitting the Eagles signal caller’s knees after he suffered left ACL injuries in each of the last two years.
Asked to respond to Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett’s harsh words about the league’s protection of its quarterbacks, Suggs was diplomatic while taking a playful jab at his own general manager’s prominent role in making decisions regarding the rules.
“Those guys get a lot of our sponsors,” said Suggs of quarterbacks. “A lot of those guys are good-looking guys, so you don’t want to damage them too much. It’s still the most valuable position on the field, so you’ve got to protect them.
“But if we’ve got anybody to blame, it’s all on Ozzie Newsome. He’s on the competition committee, so he kind of helped put the rules in. Probably have to talk to Ozzie about that.”
Suggs says he’s had plenty of dialogue with Newsome about the subject, but he admitted not wanting to see his own quarterback, Joe Flacco, in harm’s way.
“He said the quarterback keeps a lot of people employed, so we’ve got to protect them,” said Suggs about Newsome’s thoughts. “I understand — I wouldn’t want my guy getting mistreated.”
Offensive line in flux
Six offensive linemen remained sidelined during Wednesday’s practice, including starting left tackle Eugene Monroe (arm) and starting left guard Kelechi Osemele (Achilles tendon).
The problem is further compounded with both James Hurst (concussion) and Ryan Jensen (undisclosed) missing the workout after both saw time at left tackle against Philadelphia. Should none of the aforementioned players be available to play in the third preseason game against Washington on Saturday, the Ravens could be forced to move backup right tackle Jah Reid to the blind side.
Would an unsettled line situation impact how much Flacco plays against the Redskins?
“If something happens in the game, it possibly could,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “But the way we’re going into the game, we’re comfortable with the guys that are going to play and start on the offensive line. [We think] that they’ll do a great job.”
Rookie offensive tackles De’Ondre Wesley (knee) and Darryl Baldwin were also missing from Wednesday’s practice while fellow rookie Blaine Clausell returned to the field.
In addition to the six offensive linemen, the Ravens were without cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (hamstring), Rashaan Melvin, and Tramain Jacobs, wide receivers Breshad Perriman (knee) and Michael Campanaro (soft tissue issue), linebacker Steve Means (groin), and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee) on Wednesday.
Melvin has now missed three straight practices, but the Ravens coach wouldn’t specify exactly what the ailment is.
“He’s got a soft-tissue issue that he’s working through — probably a typical training camp thing — so we’ll see,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know if he’ll be there or not on Saturday. I’ve got my fingers crossed.”
The third-year cornerback missed two practices at the beginning of the month with a hamstring strain.