PLEASE NOTE: The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
Terrell Suggs might be a hero to Baltimore, but he doesn’t mind playing the villain to the rest of the NFL.
Suggs firmly embraced both of those roles on Wednesday, as the fun-loving linebacker stepped in front of media with a controversial Steelers-themed T-shirt. It could fire up the Pittsburgh locker room before this weekend’s playoff matchup, but at the very least, Suggs knows Steelers fans will be riled.
Terell Suggs’ Press Conference Right Click for Full Screen Option
“Nobody wants the villain to win, so when you’re the underdog, you just can kind of go out there and play,” said Suggs, who led the Ravens with 11 sacks this year. “And that’s alright though, I’ll be the good guy to the City of Baltimore and I’ll be the bad guy to everywhere else.”
Members of the Ravens’ front office staff and linebacker Ray Lewis attempted to convince Suggs to change shirts to no avail. Tight end Todd Heap, who followed Suggs on the podium, even quipped, “That’s my [Arizona State] buddy. Sometimes we claim him.”
Still, Suggs insisted he was not trying to send a message to the Ravens’ bitter AFC North rival.
“There isn’t any message,” said Suggs. “Like I always say, I put on for my city; they rep their city and I’m repping mine, so here we go.”
Suggs also said that while he didn’t feel any extra animosity towards the Steelers, he appreciates why the rivalry’s hard-nosed nature resonates across the league.
“To me, it’s definitely the best rivalry in sports,” said Suggs. “And when it comes to football, it’s the most physical game of the year. So, that’s just what it is. It’s going to be a physical, gang-fight.”
Lewis, a 12-time Pro Bowler, agrees. While Suggs was more playful in his comments about the rivalry, Lewis thinks one team can dislike another team as long as there is a level of respect.
When asked about Steelers receiver Hines Ward’s statement that he didn’t like the Ravens, Lewis took it in stride.
“Listen, I like pizza. I like a lot of things. And then there’s a lot of things I don’t like,” Lewis said with a smile. “It’s OK to use that word, ‘like.’ But, it’s always good when you don’t get that other word. And that is, when you don’t respect somebody. He gives us the same respect that we give them.”
As for Suggs, this isn’t the first time Suggs has made a statement regarding the Steelers with his wardrobe.
Suggs broke out another controversial shirt during Baltimore’s 2009 training camp that can easily be found with an Internet search.
With his latest statement, Suggs expects the usual reception from Steelers fans on Saturday.
“When we go down there, they always hit us with the No. 1′s,” said Suggs. “I don’t know how they act here, because I’ll be in the locker room by the time all the fans get here, but I’m pretty sure we hit them with the No. 1′s. So, it’s whatever man. It’s whatever. We’re just going to go play a football game.”