Ball So Hard University won't have its most famous alum on the field this season.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles tendon while training in Arizona and is expected to miss the entire 2012 season.
The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year suffered the injury one week after the Ravens took Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw in the NFL draft.
Adam Schefter reports Suggs suffered the injury while playing basketball and will undergo surgery on the tear next week.
Suggs told Ravens Insider that he'll be back midseason. "I love how you guys are saying 'out for the season,'" he said. "Just gonna make my comeback that much bigger."
His absence will leave a huge hole in a Ravens defense that ranked third in the NFL in 2011. The 29-year-old was coming off his best season as a pro. He had 14 sacks and seven forced fumbles in Baltimore's 12-4 campaign.
The linebacker denied that basketball led to the injury, telling ESPN that he suffered it while doing training exercises. There are reports that the Ravens could have language in Suggs' contract prohibiting him from some activities, like basketball.
Fan reaction has focused on that report too. To which we say: Really? Basketball is off limits for NFL players now? Players of the biggest sport in the country can't play the second-biggest sport in the country? What sense does that make? I suppose if he had awkwardly stepped off a curb and broken his ankle, folks wouldn't want him to walk in public.
What are NFL players supposed to do in the offseason: Cover themselves in bubble wrap and hibernate in their basements? An Achilles can rupture during any number of training exercises. The threat of possible injury can't be a full deterrent. He was playing ball, probably so hard it hurt. But let's not act like the guy was jumping over the Snake River Canyon on a motorcycle. Accidents happen. Don't rip the guy for doing something to keep in shape.
Regardless of how it happened, Suggs is done, at least for a while. Upshaw figures to be the man to fill Suggs' void. General manager Ozzie Newsome traded out of the first round to pick No. 35 to select the first-team All-American last week. He figured to replace departing free agent Jarret Johnson, but now has a bigger role to play in Baltimore's defense.
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