Last summer was an interesting one for Terrell Suggs.
The Ravens linebacker entered the 2009 offseason battling a shoulder injury which he suffered during the playoffs.
He was tagged as the Ravens' franchise player for the second straight season, which meant that he wasn't required to attend the team's offseason workouts. Instead, he opted to work out with his own personal trainer in Arizona.
Then, in July, he signed a six-year, $63 million contract, which made him the highest-paid linebacker in NFL history.
By the time training camp rolled around, Suggs reported at somewhere around 275 to 280 pounds - around 15 pounds more than his previous playing weight.
Suggs injured his heel early in camp, injured his knee mid-way through the regular season on a cheap shot hit by Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, and finished the year with a disappointing (and career-worst) 4.5 sacks.
With that admittedly frustrating season now a few months behind him, Suggs says that he would've been better off working out with the team and strengthening his shoulder under the eye of team trainers last year.
"It probably would have helped me to be here and get a little better rehab," Suggs told reporters at last weekend's minicamp.
Opting to learn from his struggles last season, Suggs has been "here" the last few months.
Suggs spent a good part of the offseason in Owings Mills training alongside his teammates and getting back into shape, and the work has paid off. The seven-year veteran is noticeably slimmer and is working back down toward that 260 pound mark.
"Terrell Suggs has worked hard, and he's been here most of the days," head coach John Harbaugh said. "The days he's been here, I think he's worked exceptionally hard. He's committed to really getting in great shape."
The next step is getting Suggs back to the pass rushing form that had him averaging nearly nine sacks per season his first six years in the league.
The reason for Suggs' decreased sack numbers last season might be partly two-fold: his increased weight caused him to evolve into more of a run-stopper, and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison's insistence that his defenders improve that aspect of their game.
"A lot of, probably, what has happened with our guys has maybe been me saying we've got to stop the run, stop the run, and put a lot of emphasis on stopping the run and putting Terrell Suggs where he's not in a pass-rush mode," Mattison said. "Our attitude now in this camp has been to work a great deal on pass rush and get him in more of a position where he can rush the passer."
The Ravens took another step in the "get the old Suggs back" movement this offseason, hiring Ted Monachino, Suggs' former positional coach at Arizona State, as their outside linebackers coach.
Monachino and Suggs have a good working relationship from their days at ASU, and while Monachino's big-picture goal will obviously be improving the Ravens' overall pass rush, he will spend a lot of his time working closely with his former pupil.
"It just brings back old memories," Suggs said. "Not to say our last coach wasn't good, I think I relate better to coach Monachino. So, I think it's definitely a step up having him around."
In the end, regardless of all the increased offseason workouts, adjustments in defensive strategy and coaching changes, it will be on Suggs to turn things around on the field.
The three-time Pro Bowler says you shouldn't bet against him.
"Hey, it's not expected for me to have a season like ," Suggs said. "Rest assured, it will never happen again."