Will Roethlisberger play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens with limited mobility?
Ask any of the Steelers and they'll tell you Roethlisberger looks great.
Of course, what else would anyone say of their peerless leader?
Roethlisberger said the decision to play will depend upon the ability to "feel comfortable out there, protect myself and keep the swelling out of it."
So, at the moment, the issue is undecided.
Except in the mind of one man.
You may know him as "T-Sizzle" out of "Ball So Hard University." Terrell Suggs of the Ravens gave it to reporters straight.
"We all know who's playing," said Suggs. "We've seen this movie before. (Roethlisberger)'s going to say 'I did individual today. I'm not sure how I feel. Dah da dah.' But we know 7's going to be out there just like we know 55's going to be out there on our side. So tell Ben he's not fooling anybody. I've seen this movie too many times before. We're definitely prepared for 7."
Seven, of course, is Roethlisberger, and 55 is Suggs, the man who's sacked Roethlisberger more times (16.5) than anyone else in Roethlisberger's storied career.
The two go way back to the beginning of Roethlisberger's career, and Suggs, with one more year in the league, has watched it unfold. He even reacted defensively -- on behalf of Roethlisberger -- when asked if he thought the Steelers quarterback was playing the role of "drama queen," as CBS analyst and former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott put it this past weekend.
"You can't call a man that's got two Super Bowl rings and played in three a drama queen," Suggs said. "Maybe some other quarterbacks, but I don't think so much him."
Don't doubt that they're rivals, and don't doubt that Suggs hates the Steelers. But also, don't doubt that he and Roethlisberger havee been through so much together that there's mutual respect. So, Suggs was asked about the old days, when a Steelers-Ravens game was not to be missed.
"The characters in this television show have definitely changed," Suggs said. "Remember, this used to be a game where all the 30 other teams tuned in. Even the networks used to put this on prime-time TV. When you lose an Ed Reed, when you lose a 43 and an 86 from y'all side, it loses it's flavor. But y'all still got some guys. We still got some guys. So, we're going to make the best of it."
This year it's more about breaking losing streaks. The 3-4 Ravens have lost four in a row and the 4-3 Steelers have lost two in a row. But both teams are getting healthy. The Steelers are set to welcome DL Cam Heyward and RT Marcus Gilbert back to their starting lineup. The Ravens returned ILB C.J. Mosley, LT Ronnie Stanley, CB Lardarius Webb and LG Marshal Yanda to Wednesday's practice. Suggs practiced and even though he's played through a torn biceps he still has five sacks, or three fewer than the entire Steelers defense.
What's the mood in Baltimore?
"Everything tastes bad when you lose," Suggs said. "Everything tastes worse when you lose four in a row."
The Ravens have had only one winning season since 2012, and last season they were 5-11. Yet, they beat the Steelers twice, both times to end three-game losing streaks. In fact, the Ravens have won five of the last six meetings with the Steelers.
What accounts for this mastery?
"I don't think we have mastery," Suggs said before shouting, "I SEE WHAT YOU'RE ALL TRYING TO DO!
"You're trying to get me to pump some fuel," he continued as he calmed back down. "We haven't mastered anything. If you look at the two games last year, there were some fortunate things happen for us throughout the course of the game. It had nothing to do with schematics. Maybe a missed field goal here and there. You can't say we've mastered anything."
Is there still an edge between the teams? Is there still a nastiness?
"I still think it's there," Suggs said. "I work out with (Ryan) Shazier and (Stephon) Tuitt. I work out with a couple of them and we all talk and it's still the same edge. Any other week, we're cordial and socialize with each other. This week you don't talk much."
But it can't compare with the old days. Suggs was asked if there's anyone he sees with the Steelers who might, say, walk onto the Ravens bus looking for a post-game fight as Joey Porter once did.
"Y'all got 53 now," Suggs said of Maurkice Pouncey. "He's part of the old days. He's one of 'em. Ninety-four (Lawrence Timmons) is one of 'em. I think y'all found something in 66 (David DeCastro) and 73 (Ramon Foster). Some guys y'all knew what y'all was doing when y'all went and got 'em. That's just to name a few."
Suggs gave an indication there may even be a bit of edginess inside his own locker room. When asked if the Ravens have anyone fans might be excited to watch play on Sunday, Suggs chuckled and said, "Yeah. Justin Forsett."
Forsett, of course, was released last month after rushing for 2,005 yards in 19 games with the Ravens. He was signed by the Detroit Lions while the Ravens turned to third-year back Terrance West, who's gained 424 yards at 4.4 per carry.
Any other new, young players to watch with the Ravens?
"Ah, let me think of a young guy that's impressing me," Suggs said with a pause. "Nah, I can't think of no young guys."
He laughed wickedly and said, "I'm not giving y'all nothing, man. I can't give the enemy too much."
Some enemies still die hard.null