Reserve safety James Ihedigbo expected plenty of ribbing from his new teammates after coming to Baltimore only eight months following the AFC Championship game when his Patriots outlasted the Ravens to advance to Super Bowl XLVI.
However, the 28-year-old says his Ravens teammates have been nothing but friendly. At least for now.
Ihedigbo still expects that January day in Foxborough to come up, and it could later this month when the Patriots travel to Baltimore for a Sunday night game.
“Not yet. I know [the teasing is] coming, but I haven’t gotten any yet,” Ihedigbo said. “They just welcomed me with open arms and were glad that I could be here and glad that I could help out. They accept me and embrace me, I embrace them, and now it’s time to get to working and make this thing happen.”
After Emanuel Cook’s season-ending leg injury left the Ravens light at the safety position, the Ravens signed Ihedigbo to boost their depth as well as provide another veteran to the special teams units.
Ihedigo is entering his sixth professional year after spending four seasons with the New York Jets and last season with the Patriots.
“We really studied him,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He is a very good player in the secondary — a really smart player. [He has a] very physical style. He adds a lot to our secondary with experience, which helps us.”
Though not as physically imposing as starting strong safety Bernard Pollard, Ihedigbo could be used as a blitzing dime back in certain situations and will also help to mentor rookie Christian Thompson, as both players played at FCS schools.
The Massachusetts alum said he’s simply honored to join a great defensive tradition in Baltimore.
“Just bring extra depth to what we already have as veteran safeties that are phenomenal players,” Ihedigbo said. “Like I said, whatever way I can help on defense terms of whether it’s pressuring the quarterback, coverage, whatever it is.”
With the Ravens opening their locker room for interviews on Wednesday afternoon, the media caught a rare glimpse of linebacker Terrell Suggs, who continues to rehab his surgically-repaired Achilles tendon and is on the reserve physically unable to perform list to start the season.
The 2011 AP Defensive Player of the Year declined interview requests.
There is no timetable for his potential return to the field, but Suggs can return to the practice field after the Ravens’ Week 6 game against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 14. At that point, the 29-year-old has a three-week window to practice before the team must decide to place him on the 53-man roster or send him to season-ending injured reserve.
Suggs has vowed that he will play at some point during the 2012 season but backed off his initial estimate of an early-November return when he last spoke publicly during mandatory minicamp in June.