The Ravens know how quick Terrell Suggs can blitz the quarterback.
Now, they'll find out how fast the Arizona State pass rusher can cover 2,300 miles.
Suggs, the 10th player selected in the NFL draft, agreed to terms on a five-year, $10.09 million contract last night and was trying to catch a red-eye flight out of Phoenix to make this afternoon's practice. His plane is scheduled to arrive at Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 7 a.m., which would give him enough time to drive to McDaniel College in Westminster, sign his contract and suit up.
"He's going to get a little sleep before we put him on the field," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We're thrilled to have Terrell back."
Suggs will receive an initial signing bonus of $2 million and second-tier option of $4.25 million. He can earn up to an additional $5 million in incentives which are largely based on sacks and playing time.
His two-day holdout is not expected to keep him from starting at strong-side linebacker or hurt his conversion from college defensive end. Although he will not likely work with the first-team defense today, the coaches will monitor his progress in today's light practice to see if he can participate in tomorrow's hard-hitting session.
"Had this dragged out any longer, he would have likely not have been able to participate in Friday's scrimmage," Billick said. "And it shouldn't substantially affect his playing time against Buffalo [in the first preseason game.] That's the key thing for me."
With Suggs returning, the Ravens' only unsigned draft pick is Kyle Boller, the 19th overall selection. The strong-armed quarterback out of California is one of eight first-round picks holding out.
As of last night, the sides were not close on an agreement. The $5.1 million combined signing bonus and option payment given to Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calvin Pace - the 18th overall pick - is believed to be approximately what Boller's side has been seeking and significantly higher than what the Ravens have been offering.
"The parameters for Kyle Boller and what that market is this year is set," Billick said. "I don't understand why it's not done.
"At this point, when you go forward with a holdout, nothing is going to be gained from it. No monies are increased. Holdouts from this point on aren't going to yield one penny more. That's the frustrating part. This could be put behind very quickly. Fortunately, with Terrell Suggs, it is and we'll move on."
The main beneficiary of Boller's absence is quarterback Anthony Wright, who is splitting reps with Chris Redman instead of getting limited playing time.
"One man's stupidity is another man's fortune," Billick said.
The Ravens appear to be digging in for an extended holdout by Boller and will probably sign another quarterback so Redman, Wright and reserve Grant Noel don't wear out their arms.
"We need to get somebody else in here, because it doesn't look like Mr. Boller will be joining us for a while," Billick said. "So we need to get an arm in here, and we will probably do that."
While the Ravens may add a quarterback, they will not need further help in pressuring one.
Rated sixth on the team's draft board, Suggs will make his biggest impact in passing situations, when he will shift to defensive end to boost a lethargic Ravens pass rush. Last year, Suggs registered an NCAA-record 24 sacks; the Ravens managed just 33 as a team.
"This is a great kid," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "To see this guy be in camp just two days late is a very, very positive thing for our defense right now because he's going to be a big part of it. It's going to be nice welcoming him, but he's going to have to deal with us in other ways."
When asked if Suggs' cross-country flight will delay any hazing, Billick said with a smile, "If they don't choose to do it, I'm going to do it."