The Baltimore Ravens’ defense took a major blow on Sunday, with team leader and pass-rushing specialist Terrell Suggs suffering a season-ending tear to his left Achilles’ tendon in the fourth quarter of the team’s loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday. It is the second Achilles’ injury for Suggs in his career; he tore his right one in 2012.
“Here's a tough, tough break for a guy who's done nothing but work above and beyond to a degree and be the kind of leader that you just admire so much,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said of Suggs (via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley). Suggs is the Ravens’ all-time sack leader, with 106.5, and he totaled 12 sacks in 2014. At 33 years old, the injury could signal the end of Suggs’ NFL career. He said in the summer that he’s “on the back nine.”
The injury will require the Ravens’ other outside linebackers, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw and rookie Za'Darius Smith to step up in Suggs’ absence. But no one will command the same kind of attention from opposing offenses as Suggs, nor will anyone be as much as an on-field leader for Baltimore’s defense.
The Ravens were thin at outside linebacker before Suggs fell injured. In response, the team signed free agent Jason Babin. Babin, a 12-year veteran who is 35 years old, totaled only two sacks in 16 games and four starts for the New York Jets in 2014. The Ravens are his eighth career team. Babin won’t be stepping in and starting, though, given his age and declining skills. Instead, he will be used rotationally and will otherwise provide depth.
Cincinnati Bengals: Bengals CB Adam Jones Fined $35,000
When Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones removed the helmet of Oakland Raiders rookie receiver Amari Cooper and then drove Cooper’s head into the helmet in the team’s blowout win on Sunday, it seemed like Jones was headed for an instant ejection. Instead, he remained in the game. Suspension appeared to be the likely punishment handed down from the league, but Jones avoided the NFL’s ban-hammer and instead was fined $35,000 for hitting a defenseless player, reports ESPN’s Coley Harvey.
Jones, via Harvey, disagrees with the ruling, saying “It's way too much. $35,000 is a lot of money for a guy out playing football. But it is what it is. I'll appeal and if it gets appealed, hey [good]. If it doesn't, I guess I donated to somebody's college fund this year.” Initially, Jones along with Raiders offensive tackle Austin Howard were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct in the skirmish that broke out on the field, initially triggered by a block to Jones’ throat by Cooper on a passing play.
The fine and penalty won’t change Jones’ approach to the game. He said to Harvey, “Like I've said, I'm going to [let] whatever happened on the field stay on the field. Everybody knows how I play this game. That's not going to stop.” He continued to defend himself to The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jim Owczarski, saying, “I don't back down from nobody and I ain't out trying to start nothing. I'm just out playing football…There, I was 'in the moment' in that play.”
Jones, though, did regret doing anything that would result in negative returns for his team, adding, “I don't want to hurt my team by no form or fashion but I've got to make sure I protect myself.” He continued, “I'm just one of those guys who plays with no seat belt. I'm not going to change the way I play for nobody. As long as it's not hurting my team then I'm cool.”
Pittsburgh Steelers: Steelers CB Brandon Boykin Doesn’t Know Why He Didn’t Play
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a shaky secondary—to say the least—so it seemed like Brandon Boykin would play a big role in the team’s regular-season debut against the New England Patriots. After all, the team traded a fifth-round 2016 draft pick for him to take him off the Philadelphia Eagles’ hands earlier in the summer. But, Boykin didn’t play a single snap against New England, and he doesn’t know why.
Boykin, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Mark Kaboly said, “I feel like I can help. I really don't know why that happened or what the case is. I haven't talked to the coaches about it yet. I will definitely ask if it continues for some reason. I am kind of new here. I have been here four weeks. I know I could've contributed, but I don't what there reason was for not getting any snaps.”
In three years with the Eagles, Boykin totaled seven interceptions, 114 combined tackles and 31 passes defensed despite only getting six starts in 48 games. Meanwhile, on Thursday night, the Steelers gave up 288 yards and four touchdowns on 25 Tom Brady completions, at times leaving players like Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski completely uncovered.
Will Boykin get on the field against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday? “Whether it is now or later, we will see. I definitely want to be on the field and definitely feel like I could've helped, but that's what the circumstances are. You aren't going to go through your career without having any adversity. It will be figured out and it will be answered,” answered Boykin. It’s worth noting Boykin wanted out of Philadelphia because he wasn’t getting the amount of playing time he sought; for now, it appears history is repeating itself for him with the Steelers.