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Ravens OLB Suggs tears Achilles

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By PFW staff

Updated 11:45 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 3

The Ravens could be without the reigning PFW/PFWA Defensive Player of the Year in this upcoming season.

On Thursday, OLB Terrell Suggs told Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County (Md.) Times that he suffered a partial tear of the Achilles tendon while practicing a conditioning test. Asked if he would be able to play this year, Suggs told Wilson: "Absolutely. Middle to end of October. Definitely beginning of November."

Suggs had been working out in Arizona.

Last season, Suggs started all 16 games and recorded an AFC-high 14 sacks, six passes defensed, two interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

Since being drafted in 2003, Suggs has been a force getting after the quarterback. He has 82½ sacks and 27 forced fumbles in his career. Suggs has missed only three games in his nine seasons. He is a five-time Pro Bowler and was the 2003 Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The Ravens used their first pick of last weekend’s draft, a second-rounder, on Alabama OLB Courtney Upshaw.

The team released the following statement on its Twitter: "We are in contact with Terrell. He will see a specialist early next week, and we’ll know more at that time.”

The PFW spin

An explosive, strong edge rusher, Suggs is a blue-chip player. He has played exceptionally well in some big games over the years. If he cannot play at all in 2012, it could be a big blow to the Ravens’ chances to contend for the AFC title. Suggs is a difference maker at a vital position in today’s NFL.

With Suggs reportedly likely to miss at least the beginning of the season, the Ravens could turn to fourth-year pro Paul Kruger and rookie Courtney Upshaw at outside linebacker. Kruger showed promise as a pass rusher a season ago, and there’s reason to believe he can transition to becoming a solid starter. Upshaw, who looks like a wonderful fit for the Ravens’ scheme, has the talent to succeed immediately. Third-year pro Sergio Kindle, a former second-round draft pick who played sparingly in 2011 and missed all of ’10 after suffering a head injury in a fall, is also in the mix.

But make no mistake: The Ravens will miss Suggs if he is out, not matter how well his replacements play. Note that Baltimore also lost longtime starting OLB Jarret Johnson in free agency, and he was a tough, reliable, skilled player in his own right.

The Ravens came very close to winning the AFC championship in January. They have been a consistently top-level team the past four seasons. They will not fold without Suggs, not with a strong core of talent on defense and a solid, capable offense. The Ravens can persevere, and they are not to be discounted, but this is the type of injury that can knock a team down in the NFL’s pecking order, especially if it ends Suggs' season.

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