Suggs' status in question

OWINGS MILLS -- Although Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs has guaranteed he won't be sidelined for Sunday's AFC title game because of an injury that team officials termed a strained right shoulder, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't sound nearly as optimistic about Suggs' status.

Harbaugh revealed that Suggs had a magnetic resonance imaging exam performed to determine the extent of the damage suffered when he sacked Tennessee Titans quarterback Kerry Collins, adding that=2 0Suggs' outlook to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers would "be close."

"I'm not going to sit here and say it's positive, or we're happy about it," Harbaugh said. "We'll just see how it goes. It's going to be close. He's going to work real hard to try to get back. That's all we know."

When Suggs left the game in the first half of a 13-10 AFC divisional playoff win Saturday, it was announced that his return was questionable. Then, he never played again in the second half. Suggs, who ranks second in franchise history behind Peter Boulware with 53 career sacks, has never missed a game in six NFL seasons with a consecutive game streak of 96 games.

"Check my track record, I don't miss games," Suggs said after the game. "The only way I wouldn't be there is if I didn't have air in my lungs. I'm playing. It's nothing. What did I tell y'all? I don't even feel it now."

Meanwhile, cornerback Samari Rolle's groin injury is the Ravens' biggest concern besides Suggs. Rolle left the game in the third quarter Saturday and didn't return.

"We're concerned about a lot of guys, and Samari is one of them," Harbaugh said. "Samari has a chance to get back there, and we'll see what happens as the week goes on."

Strong safety Jim Leonhard said he only suffered a minor concussion on his fumble-causing tackle of tight end Alge Crumpler and felt much better by Sunday.

"I should be ready to go," Leonhard said. "Hopefully, they won't hold me out of anything this week."

Rookie running back Ray Rice played in his first game since suffering a shin contusion of his left leg against the Washington Redskins last month, making a brief cameo appearance in Tennessee.

"Ray will be ready to go," Harbaugh said. "He's healthy, he'll practice and we're looking forward to seeing how much he plays as well."


OWINGS MILLS -- With Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan described as the frontrunner to become the New York Jets' new head coach and also in heavy demand from the St. Louis Rams after a pair of job interviews Sunday, his players said they would be shocked if he doesn't ascend the coaching ladder during this hiring cycle.

Ryan, 46, has been a runner-up in the past for several jobs, including last year when John Harbaugh replaced Brian Billick as the Ravens' coach. This time, Ryan's prospects look much brighter.

"If he doesn't get a head coaching job somewhere, I'd be surprised," strong safety Jim Leonhard said. "He's a treme ndous guy to play for, and I think he would be a great head coach. As a player, I would love to play with him whether it's here or somewhere else. As Ravens, we would all like him to be back."

Inside linebacker Bart Scott acknowledged that Ryan's potential departure is part of the not-for-long aspect of the NFL.

"That's the nature of the business," Scott said. "He's a great coach, I think he's due. He's been deserving of a head coaching job, and we would all be happy for him, but right now he's our coordinator and we're going to go out and play hard for him."

The Ravens don't have any doubts about where Ryan's focus lies: solely on Sunday's AFC title game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"We know that come Sunday, we're going to get all of Rex Ryan," Leonhard said. "He's going to be there for us. He's not looking ahead. He loves us, we love him."

Ryan met Sunday with Jets team owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum and made a good enough impression that the Jets are reportedly willing to wait until after the Super Bowl, if need be, to possibly hire the son of former NFL coach Buddy Ryan.

"I think he felt good about the opportunity to do it, and obviously felt good about the job he did in the interview," Harbaugh said. "Rex, I don't think he prepared for it at all. I think he just went in there and was himself, presented a program.

"Rex will be a tremendous head coach in the NFL for whoever is smart enough to hire him right now. We're hoping he stays. We're hoping he's our defensive coordinator next year, but that's a great opportunity for him, either one of those spots."

Harbaugh wasn't inclined to discuss potential replacements for Ryan. If the Ravens choose to promote from within, linebackers coach Greg Mattison or secondary coach Chuck Pagano would be the top candidates.

"That's way ahead of our thinking right now," Harbaugh said. "As a head coach, you're always formulating possibilities. Rex's total focus and my total focus and our team's total focus is going to be on the Pittsburgh Steelers and that's it. Everything else can take care of itself when the time comes."

BIG WELCOME: The Ravens were thrilled at being greeted at BWI Airport when they returned from Tennessee on Saturday night by nearly 2,000 raucous fans.

"We couldn't see the main concourse there, but all of a sudden we heard a roar and it was like being in a stadium," Harbaugh said. "It was like being in M&T Bank Stadium. It was loud. It was echoing through the halls.

"I thought our guys did a real nice job of going over and high-fiving them and signing some autographs and just being a part of it. It was a great feeling. It was neat to see the connection to the team and the fans. The fans really touched us."

QUICK HITS: Harbaugh saluted classy Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, who retired Monday. Harbaugh played high school football at Ann Arbor Pioneer in Michigan and knew Dungy because he had played at a rival high school years before. "He was gracious enough over the years whenever we might cross paths at some kind of function to have a conversation with a young coach," Harbaugh said. "When we got the job, the next day he called. We consider him somewhat of an advisor and a friend. I think his impact on the league has been transforming. He's changed the way coaches view the position and how they relate to the players and the type of values they put in place for the football team. ... When asked if the Ravens respect the Steelers despite the hostility between the two teams, Harbaugh replied: "Of course, I don't know if hostile is the right word." ... The Ravens apparently aren't jealous of the Steelers because of their first-round bye. "No, we don't care," Harbaugh said. "We couldn't care less. That doesn't go through any of our minds. We've got plenty of time to rest. We had a whole day off Sunday. They played and we didn't." ... Harbaugh thanked everyone that works for the Ravens, including equipment staff and cafeteria workers, to begin his news conference.

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