Suggs agrees to terms, ends holdout

Resolving one of their pair of first-round draft pick holdouts, the Baltimore Ravens agreed to terms Tuesday night with outside linebacker Terrell Suggs. Ending his holdout after skipping the first two days of training camp, Suggs planned to fly to Baltimore from Arizona on a red-eye flight in order to arrive in time for a morning physical and will likely practice this afternoon. Meanwhile, rookie quarterback Kyle Boller remains locked in negotiations.

Suggs, 20, received a five-year contract worth up to $15.09 million that includes total compensation of up to $8.4 million during his rookie season, according to NFL Players Association figures.

"Yeah, of course I'm ready to play some football," Suggs said as he prepared to board a flight from the West Coast. "It's definitely my time to get out there. I'm just excited and ready to go."

Suggs is projected to start for Baltimore opposite Pro Bowl outside linebacker Peter Boulware. First, though, he must overcome the fatigue of his trip, pass a physical and try to regain the ground he lost to Cornell Brown during his absence.

"We're thrilled to have Terrell back," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "The contracts may be worked around to look a certain way, but holdouts from this point on aren't going to yield one penny more. "And that's the frustrating part because this can be behind you very quickly. Fortunately, with Terrell Suggs it is and we're ready to move on."

The 10th overall pick from Arizona State received signing bonuses worth a combined $6.25 million and a base salary of $1.1 million for his rookie season. The deal features a $5 million escalator clause in the final year.

It also includes a playing time bonus in the first year that will pay him $1.05 million if he plays 35 percent of the snaps this season.

"I'm just a guy who plays for the love of the game, not just the money," Suggs said. "Yeah, I just got a lot of it, but I'm just ready to get there and earn it."

Suggs set an NCAA mark for sacks in a single season with 24 sacks last fall at Arizona State, winning the Lombardi and Bronko Nagurski awards. He owns the Sun Devils' career records with 44 sacks and 65.5 tackles for losses.

Billick said he was relieved that Suggs will arrive in time to participate in Friday night's scrimmage at Scott S. Bair Stadium along with being able to play in the team's preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills.

He said it was too early to determine when Suggs will see action with the first defense. Besides missing two days of practice, Suggs was limited in minicamps with back spasms. He has also been attempting to lose weight to convert from a college defensive end to outside linebacker.

Suggs estimated his weight at 255 pounds and said he's in pretty good shape.

"We're going to be very careful in monitoring what Terrell can do," Billick said. "I don't know what kind of shape he's in. We've got somewhat of an idea. We've been in contact with him. He has worked out recently enough for us. "Unless something dramatic has happened in the last couple of weeks, an injury we're not aware of, he should be ready to go."

In regards to Boller, whom the Ravens traded next year's first-round pick and this year's second-round pick to the New England Patriots to draft 19th overall, both of the picks above and below him have agreed to terms.

Also, Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, the 22nd pick, has agreed to terms. A difference of opinion over proposed signing bonus and escalator clauses have stalled talks and kept a key entrant out of the Ravens' quarterback competition with incumbent Chris Redman and veteran Anthony Wright.

"The parameters for Kyle Boller, what that contract represents, what the market is this year, is set," Billick said. "I don't understand why it's not done."

Boller and Suggs' absence marks six holdouts of first-round picks over the Ravens' eight drafts. Upon Suggs' agreement, Billick took the opportunity to defend the Ravens' name in the NFL marketplace in regards to general manager Ozzie Newsome and chief negotiator Pat Moriarty.

"We've got a great reputation," Billick said. "Ozzie Newsome and Pat Moriarty have done a phenomenal job to hold up the integrity of the way we do business. If you give in to certain things contractually for one athlete and not another, for one year, not the other, outside of what the market dictates, that can cause a great deal of problems."

That, Billick said, includes something of a bottom-line stance in terms of capitulating in a holdout situation.

"Ozzie and Pat have worked very hard to establish a reputation so an agent knows if we say we're not going to do void contracts, understand we're not going to do void contracts," Billick said. "It helps when agents recognize that and do their homework."

When safety Ed Reed reported to Westminster last season after missing the first week as a holdout, he was greeted with a pie in the face from cornerback Chris McAlister during a television interview.

Reed's welcome from teammates included being taped to a goalpost and being forced to sing the University of Miami school song.

"It's going to be a nice welcome contract-wise," linebacker Ray Lewis said, "but he's going to have to deal with us in other ways."

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