Ravens Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said he wasn't talking until he started playing. He started playing again Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons.
And now, he's talking.
"My goal right now is to get me some Lombardi," Suggs said of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, awarded to the Super Bowl winner. "I've accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish individually. Now it's time for us to get over the hump and get some Lombardi."
If you thought there was going to be significant rust on Suggs after nearly a month's layoff because of a leg injury, those concerns were eased against the Falcons.
Suggs played nearly 1 1/2 quarters. He finished with three tackles and one sack. He showed good acceleration while tracking down running backs and looked extremely comfortable in pass coverage.
Afterward, he kind of yawned because it was just another day at the office. On Saturday, he gave his first extensive interview since straining his heel and Achilles tendon Aug. 2, just three days into training camp.
"Because we have so much depth, [the Ravens] gave me the option of playing against the Falcons or just waiting until the season opener," Suggs said. "I chose to play because I wanted and needed the reps. If I didn't get them, then that meant I wouldn't have played a down in a game since the AFC championship game last season.
"That's too long of a time," Suggs said. "It felt good to be out there again. You can't feel the speed of a game in practice the way it is out on the playing field. There was some rust, but nothing that I can't get off by practicing. I'll be ready for the opener. I'll be ready for Kansas City."
The most important day for Suggs was Friday. He said the heel had no morning stiffness or soreness. According to Suggs, Ravens trainers put a heel in his shoe and taped his ankle for support.
Initially, he had expected to miss only a couple of days. But the magnetic resonance imaging showed a spot where he was injured, and Suggs said he just couldn't shake it.
"I've never had an injury like this before," he said. "I had the shoulder last year, but I could tape that and still play. This time, I couldn't run and couldn't plant and push off. I wasn't particularly worried about it, but after awhile it just became annoying."
Suggs was stunned when it was suggested that he might have milked the injury to miss an extra week of training camp.
"Actually, I haven't heard that, but you can't worry about what other people think," Suggs said. "Sometimes, people only see what's on television, and they really don't get to know and understand the player.
"I'm not trying to please everybody, only my coaches and teammates, I wanted to make sure that when the season opened, I was ready to go and give it all that I had. I'm prepared."
There will be no arguments here against Suggs. If he took an extra couple of days off, it's no big deal. If you want to doubt him, look at his past. Since 2004, his second season, Suggs has started every game and rarely missed any practices.
He may have missed most of the two previous training camps, but that's because he was designated the franchise player both seasons. That was to be expected.
If you want to take another serious look at Suggs, go back to the AFC championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season. Despite a severe shoulder injury and missing practice the week before the game, Suggs still produced two sacks against Ben Roethlisberger, one of the toughest, most evasive quarterbacks in the NFL.
And Suggs pretty much was playing with one arm.
The Ravens rewarded Suggs during the offseason with a $63 million contract over the next six years. Nobody knows better than Suggs that a lot of eyes in Baltimore will be watching.
In his first couple of seasons, Ravens fans saw a player that earned Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2003. But though he could dominate most left tackles, he disappeared against the best ones.
In the past three years, Suggs has improved his game, going from 86 tackles in 2006 to 102 last season. This season, there will be change because Greg Mattison has replaced Rex Ryan as the team's defensive coordinator.
Ryan liked pressure packages. He liked overloads to one side and blitzes. Mattison likes to stay more in the base look and wants to get most of his pressure from the front four.
Suggs doesn't mind the changes, at least in one regard. In passing situations, he won't be involved in coverage much. He'll basically put his hand in the dirt and get after the quarterback.
He smiles about that thought.
"Oh, I love having my hand in the dirt much more than dropping back," Suggs said. "But what people have to understand is that a lot of what you do is determined by the scheme and the players around you. I'm more concerned with our entire defense.
"I think we can be one of the greatest [defenses] ever," Suggs said. "But for us to do that, we have to be dominating from week to week. It all starts with Kansas City. I'll be ready."