Suggs: “I will be in a Baltimore Ravens uniform in 2012. The only question is when”

Terrell Suggs took to the podium at Ravens mini-camp Thursday and made a proclamation.

“I will be in a Baltimore Ravens uniform in 2012. The only question is when,” the star linebacker told reporters.

Suggs faced a large number of questions from the media about the injury to his Achilles’ tendon that will have the Ravens without the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year for a sizable chunk of the upcoming season.

But how long he’ll be out is unknown. Is his previous estimate of a November return realistic?

“When they did the timetable, you kind of look at the months, and I was like, ‘Oh, I can be back by then,’ ” Suggs told reporters. “But like I said, I am not a doctor, so that’s just a guess. It feels good now, I guess. We’ll know in my progression when I will actually be able to come back.”

The biggest buzz around the injury is how it happened.

Reports have suggested witnesses saw Suggs suffer the tear playing basketball in Arizona. Suggs, however, still holds that he got hurt during a conditioning drill.

Asked about the basketball report, he responded, “Not when I got hurt. We’re talking about two entirely different incidents. I didn’t get hurt doing that. That’s not what happened.

“I have built enough relationships here with (general manager Ozzie Newsome), my head coach, my teammates. Any of you all, you can call me and say, ‘Sizzle, what happened?’ I’ll tell you what happened. That’s not what happened. It happened running my conditioning test.

“You all that know me, know when I say what happened, that’s exactly what happened. So it was kind of upsetting and frustrating, but I was like, ‘Look. They’re talking about two entirely different things - two entirely different incidents.’ So, it’s whatever. I’m way past that and I’m continuing to work to get back on the field.”

The fact that the organization isn’t going to attempt to take away any of Suggs’ salary because of the possible nature of the injury meant something to Suggs.

“I never expected them to, because like I said, after 10 years you build a relationship with the people around here. You have their back, and I come through and I give my all for them,” Suggs told reporters. “Just like when I won my MVP award, they’ve always been behind me no matter what was going on or what was happening in my life. So, we pretty much, we’ve got an understanding. I consider this organization my family, so like I said, it was huge, but I never expected them to do that, and I know they didn’t expect to.”

As for where he is in his recovery, Suggs said it’s going well.

“We’re going to be really optimistic about it, so I’m happy,” he said. “I’ve been to the (doctor); he’s been saying good things, working it out. You know, we’ve got the best trainer in the world saying good things, so we’re just going to see where we land. Maybe we were shooting too far? (We’ll) never know. We’ll see.”

Suggs isn’t too sure about the next step in rehabbing his way back, however.

“I guess just the repair, getting it as strong as it can be - not rushing it, just kind of letting it heal in its time,” he told reporters. “So that’s pretty much the next step. We’re going to come up with a plan, me and Mark Smith, our trainer, pretty much in a few minutes. But the whole time, we’ve just been here working it.

“It’s every day. There are no days off. It’s every day. I work everything else, then I work my leg, my foot, then I ice it, rest. It’s kind of like a two-a-day, just kind of like I’d be doing had I not got hurt.”

Suggs expressed frustration at not being on the field and participating in practice with his teammates.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Suggs is involved, however.

“He’s in every meeting. I talk to him all time; he is a part of everything we’re doing, except for practice,” Harbaugh said.

But does Suggs believe the defense can survive without its disruptive outside linebacker?

“Absolutely,” he said. “This defense has tons of stars. I am not even going to name anybody because I don’t want to leave anybody out. This defense definitely can get it done and hold the levies until I get back, just like we had to do when we lost our general (Ray Lewis) last year for four games. So, you have to go get it done.”