Ravens linebacker sacks Saints quarterback Drew Brees and… (Nick Wass / Associated Press…)
Terrell Suggs was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2003, in part because he collected 12 sacks, which stands as the Ravens' record for rookies.
The outside linebacker is just one sack away from tying his career best, and his play this season has helped him shed memories of last year.
In 2009, Suggs registered a career-worst 4.5 sacks while playing in just 13 games because of a sprained knee and off-the-field domestic issues.
But if Suggs, who is 1.5 sacks away from Peter Boulware's franchise mark for a career, feels vindicated by his results this season, he's not letting anyone know.
"Who cares about last year? The reason I've gotten a lot of sacks this year is because we ain't been talking about them," Suggs said Wednesday. "I'm just trying to play."
Suggs has been especially productive over his past seven games, posting 7.5 sacks, which tie Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Cameron Wake for the second-most over that same time span.
Suggs, who was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month last month for compiling 18 tackles and four sacks, said the personal accomplishments are fun but his ultimate objective is to go to the Super Bowl in Dallas in February.
"I've been to the Pro Bowl and had some good seasons and some bad. I still have no Lombardi Trophy," Suggs said. "That's the only thing I'm really trying to play for. If I can get to [the quarterback] enough and win the game, the more wins we get, the better our chances of getting to Dallas. It's fun. It's good. The family is looking at it. But I just need the hardware."
Heap, Mason practice for second straight day
Tight end Todd Heap (pulled right hamstring) and wide receiver Derrick Mason (ankle) practiced on a limited basis for the second consecutive day, according to the team's injury report Thursday.
For Heap, who has sat out the last two games, it's a promising sign he could play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. "He hasn't missed a beat in his preparation, his rehab," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said Thursday. Heap is "a consummate pro and [we are] looking forward to getting him back."
Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and safety Haruki Nakamura joined kicker returner/wide receiver David Reed and safety Tom Zbikowski on the sideline Thursday. Ayanbadejo did not practice because of a knee issue, while Nakamura dealt with an illness. Reed (concussion) and Zbikowski (back) did not participate for the second straight day.
Center Matt Birk (knee) and wide receiver Marcus Smith (shoulder) practiced fully for the second consecutive day. Offensive lineman Tony Moll (illness) and linebacker Jason Phillips (illness), both of whom did not practice Wednesday, returned and participated fully.
Lewis likes fiery side of Flacco
Inside linebacker Ray Lewis, who tends to be fiery, liked what he saw from an enraged Joe Flacco on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
After getting sacked by defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson in the third quarter of the Ravens' eventual 30-24 win, Flacco used choice words to express his thoughts to referee Walt Anderson about getting kneed in the helmet by defensive end Will Smith.
On Wednesday, Lewis sided with his quarterback.
"I'm always with Joe," Lewis said. "I was pissed off, too. You don't get that out of Joe a lot, but when he does something like that, there's something on his mind. When you go back and watch the tape, [Smith] did hit him in the head."
Nakamura doesn't shy away from painful reminder
Sunday's visit will mark the first time Nakamura has played at Cleveland Browns Stadium since suffering a gruesome broken right ankle there during the opening kickoff of a Monday night game Nov. 16, 2009.
"As far as mentally, I'm pretty much over it," Nakamura said Wednesday. "It's just one of those things where it's going to be in the back of your head, but it's just football. People get hurt, and unfortunately in that situation, I got hurt. Just got to move on past it and go forward."
Nakamura dislocated the ankle, broke his fibula and pinched the tendon on the muscle running down his lower leg. He also tore all his ankle ligaments and damaged nerves in his foot. But those injuries have not altered his playing style.
"I'm not going to change my personality," he said. "The biggest thing was, I pushed myself this year to get back to where I was before the injury. I've kind of made it a point that — as bad as that was — I'm not going to let something like that affect the way I do things."
Touchback record might be out of reach Sunday
Kicker Billy Cundiff is just two touchbacks away from Mitch Berger's NFL record of 40 in a single season.
Cundiff is the only kicker this season to register a touchback in every contest, and he holds the league record for touchbacks in outdoor stadiums (32). But he said the prospect of passing Berger's 1998 mark against the Browns appears doubtful.