By David Ginsburg
The Associated Press
BALTIMORE — Terrell Suggs is leaving the Baltimore Ravens after pursuing opposing quarterbacks and providing boisterous leadership on and off the field for 16 seasons.
The seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker told the Ravens that he won’t be coming back, people with direct knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because his departure won’t be official until the NFL’s new year begins Wednesday.
An unrestricted free agent, the 36-year-old Suggs said at the end of the 2018 season that he wanted to spend his entire career in Baltimore.
After Baltimore was ousted from the playoffs with a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Jan. 6, Suggs said: “I would love to be a Raven for life. I’m healthy, and I still feel like I have some juice in the tank. I would love to be a Raven for life. We’ll have to see what happens. It’s a long time between here and March. So, we’re just going to enjoy it and hope we can work it out. If not, I’ll be lining up for somebody next year.”
Several reports indicate Suggs will sign a one-year contract with the Cardinals. Suggs played at Arizona State before being drafted by the Ravens in the first round in 2003.
Suggs was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. He is the Ravens’ career leader with 132½ sacks, tied with Lawrence Taylor and Leslie O’Neal for 13th most in NFL history.
More than just a star on the field, Suggs took over a leadership role in the locker room and on the field after Ray Lewis retired following Baltimore’s Super Bowl victory in 2013.
“That’s a big brother, man. That’s a mentor,” Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon said of Suggs after the 2018 season. “He’s meant a lot, and he’s done a lot for me and my game and my craft. You can’t say enough good words about him and what he’s done.”
Although Suggs had only seven sacks in 2018, none over the final four games (including playoffs), the Ravens hoped to convince him to return.
Since ending a three-year playoff drought in 2018, the Ravens have lost Suggs and safety Eric Weddle. In addition, the imminent trade of quarterback Joe Flacco to Denver occurs this week.
The Ravens could also lose linebacker C.J. Mosley to free agency. An unrestricted free agent, Mosley has not agreed to a contract and, barring a last-minute deal, will enter the open market on Wednesday.