As Ravens passing camp began Monday, Terrell Suggs saw a clearer path to the quarterback.
Last season was filled with obstacles for the Ravens outside linebacker, from the weight of a new contract to the added weight on his body. Suggs finished with a career-low 41/2 sacks and 59 tackles, his fewest since 2003, his rookie season.
Now Suggs is participating in his first full offseason with the Ravens since 2007, a sign that he's dedicated to reclaiming his spot among the NFL's top pass rushers.
"Hey, it's not expected for me to have a season like that," Suggs recently told reporters. "Rest assured, it will never happen again."
Suggs, 27, skipped all of the offseason camps in 2008 and 2009 because the Ravens used the franchise tag on him.
The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker signed a six-year, $62.5 million contract in July that included $38.1 million guaranteed. But he reported to training camp looking more like a defensive end than a linebacker, weighing close to 280 pounds.
To make matters worse, he later sprained a knee ligament on an illegal block by quarterback Brady Quinn during the regular season, which forced him to miss games for the first time in his NFL career.
"I think last season is kind of where it belongs," Suggs said. "I'm not really thinking about it anymore. Last season is last season. The only thing I'm focused on right now is this season."
Suggs has split his time working out at the Ravens' conditioning program and a mixed martial arts studio in Tempe, Ariz.
His goal is to trim down to 260 pounds and about 7 percent to 11 percent body fat.
"Terrell Suggs has worked hard, and he's been here most of the days," coach John Harbaugh said. "The days he's been here, I think he's worked exceptionally hard. He's committed to getting into great shape."
His teammates have noticed a change in Suggs' mentality, too.
"I think I just see a little more relaxing," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "Anytime you relax playing this game, I think you are going to have your best. Whatever last year was for him, a lot of pressure from whatever side, the bottom line is, right now he's very loose and he's back to being Terrell.
"The first thing I said to him was, 'Just go be Sizzle, and we've got you. Don't worry about all that other stuff. Just go play football.'"
Notes: Jared Gaither was at the Ravens facility for the start of passing camp Monday, but it's unknown whether the offensive lineman practiced. Reporters weren't allowed at practice Monday. The only practice open to the media this week is today's. Gaither was moved from left to right tackle at the team's first minicamp. He didn't practice the final two days because of a foot injury. Gaither then had a magnetic resonance imaging and went to see a specialist. The Ravens signed veteran cornerback Travis Fisher, who played for Seattle last season, and safety Brad Jones, an undrafted rookie out of Cincinnati.
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