MIAMI — Terrell Suggs sat down at a desk, clad in a vibrant purple jersey and an identical purple hat. That is what the 37-year-old edge rusher imagined for himself at this level in his NFL profession, a contemporary look with new colours after he had spent 16 years in Ravens purple and black.
The seven-time Professional Bowler shook his head in disbelief, although, when requested by a reporter sitting on the similar desk whether or not he might have anticipated that his purple hat would characteristic a Chiefs brand slightly than a Cardinals brand, and that his purple jersey would characteristic a Tremendous Bowl 54 patch above his proper breast.
“I by no means in 1,000,000 years on the finish of final yr,” Suggs mentioned, pausing earlier than persevering with. “Y’all would have been like, ‘Yo, you may be enjoying within the Tremendous Bowl with the Chiefs subsequent yr.’ … What?!”
MORE: SN specialists predict and make their picks for Tremendous Bowl 54
Suggs spent a lot of his teenage and early grownup soccer life in Arizona, enjoying highschool ball in a Phoenix suburb and setting information in school at Arizona State. He felt a return to the desert upon the expiration of his Ravens contract could be a great technique to finish what doubtless might be dubbed a Corridor of Fame profession, so he joined the Cardinals on a one-year deal in free company. The plan was going easily till Arizona lower him simply three weeks earlier than the top of the 2019 common season.
Arizona on the time had simply misplaced its sixth straight recreation to fall to Three-9-1. Suggs technically had began each recreation, racking up 5.5 sacks within the course of, however his function had been diminished because the yr progressed. For sure, although he has performed sparingly during the last month and a half in Kansas Metropolis, Suggs is relieved to have been picked up by the Chiefs.
The connection is mutually helpful. Kansas Metropolis will get an injection of veteran management in its locker room and a situational increase to its move rush. Suggs will get a visit to the Tremendous Bowl for the second time in his profession.
This accident occurred shortly. Under is a timeline that particulars how the Baltimore legend arrived in Kansas Metropolis after his 13-game detour in Arizona.
Finish of Ravens profession
By the point Baltimore’s 2018 season ended with a wild-card playoff loss to the LA Chargers, “T-Sizzle” had performed in 247 video games for the Ravens and recorded a franchise report 132.5 sacks. The No. 10 general decide within the 2003 NFL Draft and 2011 NFL Defensive Participant of the Yr had by no means even flirted with free company.
He knew that might change in March of 2019, when the contract extension he signed in 2014 that paid him $28.5 million over 4 years was set to run out.
“You don’t decide like that simply spur of the second,” Suggs advised Sporting Information on the Chiefs’ Tremendous Bowl resort. “I simply type of lived with it. Put it down, stopped desirous about it for some time. Was a dad.”
The Ravens needed to maintain Suggs, particularly since his departure would go away them with Matthew Judon, Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams as the skin linebackers on the roster. Suggs mentioned Baltimore made him “a good-looking provide” to return, however he declined.
As an alternative, what he referred to as “a call within the final hour” led him to his offseason residence.
“It was simply time,” he mentioned.
Suggs advised SN the elements that pushed him to Arizona in free company “had nothing to do with soccer.” That should not be a shock contemplating the Cardinals had been coming off a Three-13 season, the worst within the NFL, and had not but drafted quarterback Kyler Murray. They’d given Kliff Kingsbury his first NFL head teaching job simply two months prior.
Arizona signed Suggs to a one-year, $7 million contract with $700,000 assured, a steep drop in ensures from these in his final Baltimore contract however technically a elevate from the $5.2 million common wage the Ravens had been paying him. Suggs has not mentioned how a lot Baltimore provided in 2019 free company.
“I needed to decide to return again and play a few extra years, or no matter I acquired left,” Suggs mentioned in his introductory media convention after signing with the Cardinals. “I felt like if I wasn’t going to be in a Ravens jersey, there’s just one place I used to be going to be enjoying, so right here we’re.”
After recording a pair of sacks within the Cardinals’ season-opening tie with the Lions at residence, Suggs’ first away recreation in an Arizona uniform was at Baltimore — due to course. He recorded three tackles (one solo) within the Cardinals’ 23-17 loss.
Suggs’ contributions remained regular because the season performed out, however because the crew stored dropping, priorities shifted.
Lower by Cardinals, claimed by Chiefs
On Dec. 13, shortly after the Cardinals introduced they’d launched Suggs, Kingsbury advised reporters the choice was mutual. Nonetheless, it was thought of a shock.
Suggs had signed with Arizona for private causes extra so than soccer causes. Why depart? The crew had simply three video games left in what had grow to be a misplaced season, and it might have opted to easily let Suggs’ contract expire as 2020 arrived. Why lower him?
“Because the season’s gone on, out of playoff competition, we needed to see what we had in some youthful gamers,” Kingsbury defined on the time. “We felt prefer it was one of the best transfer for each events.”
Suggs could be positioned on waivers, a course of through which all NFL groups get an opportunity to say a participant who’s been lower. The league’s worst crew within the standings will get the primary declare alternative, and so forth.
Stories indicated Suggs would solely play for the Ravens after he had been launched by the Cardinals. The reality is he was open to different potentialities so long as a standards was met.
“If I used to be going to play, I (hoped) for a playoff crew,” Suggs mentioned, including that he did not know what he would have executed had a non-contender claimed him. Retirement additionally was an possibility.
4 groups — the Saints, 49ers, Seahawks and Chiefs, per ESPN — positioned claims on Suggs. Because of Kansas Metropolis’s early-season losses to Indianapolis, Houston, Inexperienced Bay and Tennessee, it had the worst report of the bunch.
“Coach (Andy) Reid referred to as me,” Suggs mentioned when requested why he agreed to report back to a crew not named the Ravens. “It didn’t take a lot convincing. My largest concern was that I wouldn’t slot in. And he was like, ’Belief me, you possibly can slot in right here.'”
Reid was proper. The Chiefs, who in claiming Suggs agreed to pay the $352,941 left on his Cardinals contract, instantly benefited from his presence. A number of gamers throughout Tremendous Bowl week cited Suggs’ affect from a management perspective. On the sector, he registered a sack within the Week 17 win over the LA Chargers that earned Kansas Metropolis a first-round playoff bye. He batted down a move in a key second of the AFC championship recreation in opposition to Tennessee.
Now Suggs is again within the Tremendous Bowl, and such an excessive rise on this portion of the rollercoaster he has skilled during the last yr nonetheless baffles him.
“This half is surprising,” a wide-eyed Suggs mentioned, pointing at that Tremendous Bowl patch on his vibrant purple Chiefs jersey. “However it’s been surprising.”