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NFL

Ravens' Terrell Suggs defying age

Kevin Gorman
| Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, 4:54 p.m.

Chris Hubbard remembers watching Terrell Suggs when the outside linebacker was a rising star for the Baltimore Ravens on a dominant defense led by Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

As the starting right tackle for the Steelers, Hubbard is tasked with stopping Suggs Sunday night at Heinz Field.

"For them, he's their Ben Roethlisberger," Hubbard said. "He knows everything. He's seen it all and he's been around for a long time. That helps him a lot."

Suggs isn't just the face of the franchise for Baltimore, but the face of the Steelers-Ravens rivalry.

Safe to say, if the Steelers can stop Suggs they should clinch the AFC North division title. That's Suggs' sole focus in this rivlary.

"The only pressure is to win the game," Suggs said. "At the end of the day, if you won it, you pretty much are happy with it. If you lose, no matter how good you play, you are always going to feel like [crap]. If you win the game, then you can look at that other stuff."

At age 35, Suggs is having a career year. The five-time Pro Bowl pick has 10.5 sacks this season — his seventh in double digits — and four forced fumbles.

"I think it is a statement about the type of player he is. He's done it at the highest level for a long time and he continues to do it the way he's always done it," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

"That's what the great ones do. If you look at it, the guys who are Hall of Fame-caliber players, that's what they've done. You've had them in Pittsburgh. Those guys transcend time a little bit. They make everybody around them better. That's the type of player he is, as well."

Roethlisberger called Suggs' season "spectacular," and expressed his respect for "what he's able to do at such a high level for such a long time."

Steelers All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown also is impressed with the way Suggs is playing in what should be the twilight of his career.

"He's a baller, man," Brown said. "He still looks like a rookie out there. That's the type of play you desire to play when you're a veteran in the league."

Hubbard expects Suggs to test his technique, knowing that he to be smart about his sets. If Hubbard over-settles, Suggs will go outside. If Hubbard, under-settles, Suggs can use the bull-rush.

"He's a smart guy. He's going to pick and choose when to do this or when to do that," said Hubbard, who is nine years younger than Suggs. "He's a very smart, crafty guy. I have to give it to him, and he's doing it at a high level. He's a very skilled guy. You just have to get your hands on him.

"He still has that athletic ability. He still does his bull rush every now and then. He can still get around the corners pretty good."

"The only pressure is to win the game," Suggs said. "At the end of the day, if you won it, you pretty much are happy with it. If you lose, no matter how good you play, you are always going to feel like [crap]. If you win the game, then you can look at that other stuff."

Suggs is the focus of a Football Night in America feature with Tony Dungy on NBC, where he talks about taking a pie to the face from Ray Lewis in training camp as a rookie, teaching younger players the Ravens defense and calls Heinz Field his "coliseum" and how much he loves the boos enjoys playing the villain.

At age 35, Suggs is having a career year. The five-time Pro Bowl pick has 10.5 sacks this season — his seventh in double digits — and four forced fumbles.

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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