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Sixteen years into his NFL career and just four months before his 36th birthday Lorenzo Carter Jersey , Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs darts around the field like a kid in a pickup game.
"I still love it," Suggs said Thursday at the conclusion of minicamp. "It's still my playground. That's where I get to be myself."
Football has never been a chore for Suggs, the Ravens' sack leader with 125陆. He works hard at his craft, but he perceives his rigorous offseason regimen over the past two years to be a small sacrifice to maintain a high level of excellence.
"We stepped it up," he said. "As you get older, you have to really listen to your body."
The results were on full display this week at Baltimore's mandatory minicamp. Suggs' arms bulged with muscles, and his quickness did not escape the notice of coach John Harbaugh.
"The guy is in phenomenal shape. He's at another level of conditioning," Harbaugh said. "He's on a mission, and I think he's headed for the Hall of Fame. I want to see that statement made this year, next year and for as long as he plays."
Former Ravens star Ray Lewis will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, and Suggs has a legitimate chance to join him there one day.
That, however, is not what motivates Suggs to perform at his best.
"One thing I learned from the Hall of Famers on this team is that they never really chased the Hall of Fame," Suggs said. "There was nothing more important than what they were doing at the moment. I can't practice every practice or play every play like, 'Oh, I'm trying to get into the Hall of Fame.' If it happens, God willing, it will happen. But that's not the No. 1 important thing in my life right now."
His goal is to get another Super Bowl ring. And, of course Ito Smith Jersey , to have a blast during that pursuit.
"I really couldn't picture myself doing anything else," Suggs said. "You know what they say: If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life. So I'm pretty much still having fun as a kid."
Now entering his 11th season, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has never known a time in Baltimore when Suggs wasn't there.
"I feel like he's 2 years older than me, yet somehow he's been in the league for 20 years," Flacco said with a grin. "It speaks volumes for what kind of person he is, what kind of player he is. He's a special player. I've definitely been lucky to be around a handful of those types of guys, and one of them is going into the Hall of Fame in a couple of months."
When Lewis approached the end of his career, he formally announced, "This will be my last ride," as the 2012 season approached its conclusion.
That's not Suggs' style.
"I'll never do that. I don't think I'll ever be able to say that going in," he said. "It will probably be one day, I'll wake up ..."
After a slight pause, Suggs added, "I don't think I'll never not love it. I didn't choose this. I was born, and this is what I am. We'll just take it one year at a time."
Someone asked Suggs, whose nickname is "T-Sizzle," whether there was ever a particular offseason in which he pondered retirement.
"Some of them I was coming off significant injuries or a down year, and you don't want to end it like that Stephen Hauschka Jersey ," Suggs said. "So when I was hurt, or didn't perform the way I wanted to, that never crossed my mind. It was, 'Nah, that wasn't a Sizzle year.' When that day does come, it will end on a Sizzle year."
NOTES: Flacco is the starting quarterback, but former Louisville star Lamar Jackson, drafted in the first round, took the majority of snaps at practice Thursday. "Putting the pressure on him to have to run the whole practice, operate the offense, was valuable. He handled himself pretty well," Harbaugh said. ... Flacco said he will find a time before training camp to hone the passing game with his new crop of receivers. "It's going to be a lot of fun. It will be good for us," Flacco said.
Terrell Owens learned a valuable lesson at a young age from the most influential person in his life.
”I’ve always listened and learned a lot from my grandmother and how she lived her life and how she wanted me to live my life,” Owens told The Associated Press about Alice Black, who died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2012. ”No matter what people say about you good, bad or indifferent, you just have to believe in yourself. And when you have belief in the man above, knowing you’re not perfect, the people who walk this Earth aren’t perfect either Terron Armstead Jersey , and (if) you start to pass judgment and start to believe things about people who you don’t know personally, then that’s really a reflection of yourself.”
Growing up in a poor family in Alabama, Owens had a difficult childhood and he was often lonely. He was raised by his grandmother and his single mother, who spent much of her time working double shifts to support her children.
”Early in my career when I was an adolescent and teenager, I had self-esteem issues,” Owens said. ”I had to get out of that and understand that you have to believe in yourself in order to progress in order to do anything in your life. I’m very proud of how my grandmother raised me.”
Plenty of people have formed strong opinions about Owens, sometimes based on rumors and innuendo. T.O. certainly brought much of the criticism on himself with some of his outlandish behavior, but he believes he was also misunderstood at times. It was easier for critics to pile on than try to understand what made Owens tick.
That’s why Owens believes it took Pro Football Hall of Fame voters three tries to finally get him into the Canton shrine, although he’s not actually going to Ohio. Miffed that he was passed over twice, Owens is skipping the induction ceremony and instead giving his acceptance speech at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Owens said he visited the hall after his selection and decided he’d rather celebrate the big day at his alma mater.
”I feel the Hall of Fame committee needs to find a better formula and format in which guys get nominated and inducted, because all the hard work we’re doing as players to better our lives, our careers, our fate is in guys’ hands that have never played before,” Owens said, perhaps ignoring that Hall of Famers Dan Fouts and James Lofton are among the voters. ”People not giving me my recognition because a few people have said they didn’t like me. The narrative has been created and portrayed that I was divisive in the locker room and I wasn’t a good person or a bad teammate, but there have been people who have stood on the table for me and said I was a good teammate, a great player. But that’s the narrative they didn’t go with.”
The 44-year-old Owens had a mostly sensational 15-year career playing for San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas Jarvis Jenkins Jersey , Buffalo and Cincinnati. He is second to Jerry Rice in receiving yards and third in touchdown catches behind Rice and Randy Moss, who was chosen in his first year of eligibility.
No. 81 was a five-time All-Pro, a six-time Pro Bowl pick and one of the most entertaining players of his generation. His touchdown celebrations are legendary and no one worked harder to stay in excellent shape. Some think Owens could still play in the NFL; he has toyed with an attempted comeback in the Canadian Football League. He had 72 catches for 983 yards and nine TDs in his final season, in 2010, and finished with 1,078 receptions, 15,934 yards receiving and 153 TDs.
Owens was part of eight playoff teams but only reached the Super Bowl once after joining the Eagles in 2004. He gave a heroic performance in Philadelphia’s 24-21 loss to New England, catching nine passes for 122 yards after defying doctor’s orders and returning to play on his surgically repaired ankle 6 1/2 weeks after an operation.
”What I did, it was bigger than the Super Bowl for me,” Owens said. ”I understood the ultimate goal was to win the game and that was heavily on my mind, and I think with my performance, you can tell that was what was on my mind. But coming out of that tunnel for the first time, the media was waiting for me to run around on the field and go through my normal routine like I do before every game just to get a glimpse, see if I was limping, things of that nature on that ankle. Coming out of that tunnel, I wanted people to know my faith in God was the No. 1 reason I was able to do what I did.”

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