Ravens Vets Know Now’s The Time

Baltimore has veterans hungry to get a Super Bowl and some new to the playoffs.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Sunday, January 8th, 2012 at 10:20 am | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Ryan Mink

Terrell Suggs entered the NFL when he was just 20 years old.

In nine years, he’s making his sixth career playoff trip and has reached the AFC Championship once.

That’s not good enough for him.

Suggs is one of many Ravens veterans aching to get their hands on the Lombardi Trophy after coming up short in three straight seasons.

Suggs, safety Ed Reed, 33, and linebacker Jarret Johnson, 30, are three longtime Ravens looking to win their first Super Bowl and there are plenty of others too.

“After nine years, I still don’t have a ring? What am I doing this for?” Suggs said.

“There’s more of an emphasis to get it done. I’m tired of falling short. I don’t want to be one of the guys who has an amazing career, but no championships to show for it. A championship solidifies your whole career being an NFL player.”

As Suggs said, the Ravens had championship-caliber teams walk out of the locker room empty handed over the past few years. Baltimore has felt it had the pieces to go the distance.

Linebacker Ray Lewis is the only remaining member from the 2000 team. He said that team didn’t know then they were good enough to win the title. But they knew that if they came together long enough that they had the chance to do it.

It has been 11 years since Lewis last hoisted the trophy. He was a 25-year old kid back then. Now he’s 36 and still chasing that feeling.

“Don’t waste time,” Lewis said he told the team’s younger players. “We have the team to do it now. We don’t have too many more excuses. Let’s go do it right now.”

That message resonates with Suggs, who said he wants to get it done in his “good years” instead of in his “downfall.”

“Not everybody is as fortunate as Ray Lewis to be 36 and still kicking [butt],” Suggs said. “I don’t want to have to try to get a Super Bowl late in my career. I want to do it now so it’s something off my to-do list.”

This week, wide receiver Anquan Boldin stood up in front of his teammates and told them not to take this chance for granted. He spent five years in the league before he made the playoffs with the Arizona Cardinals, then lost in the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008.

“Different pieces will be part of this team next year and a guy might go somewhere else and never see the playoffs again, so while you have the opportunity, make the most of it,” Boldin, 31, said.

Along with those veterans who have been in Baltimore previously, the Ravens also have some that know exactly how special and rare this chance is.

Wide receiver Lee Evans never got to the postseason in seven seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Running back Ricky Williams made it once with the Miami Dolphins (2008) in his 11 seasons, and was knocked out in the first round by the Ravens.

Evans this week said he feels kind of like a “rookie all over again” entering the playoffs.

“There’s only one thing left to conquer,” Evans said. “I can’t even put it into words. It’s a special experience for me. I’ve been working and preparing for it since I came into the league.”

“It’s really where heroes are made, where stars are made, where careers are made,” Williams added. “I think we’ll have an opportunity to show how special we are.”

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