Successful Suggs Surgery Tops A Busy Tuesday
TWO DRAFT PICKS SIGN, AS DO POLLARD, EX-TEXAN JACOBY JONES
By Joe Platania
Last year's lockout undoubtedly compressed the time the Ravens had to get their offseason business done.
This year, with the first on-field activity -- the rookie minicamp -- set to start Friday, the team is attempting to get its ducks in a row more quickly than in any year in recent memory.
Monday's minor flurry, which saw the team sign ex-Denver nose tackle Ryan McBean and re-sign restricted free agent cornerback Cary Williams, was topped by a Tuesday tornado.
Perhaps the most anxious piece of news for Ravens fans was the status of linebacker Terrell Suggs' Achilles tendon surgery, which took place in North Carolina.
It has not been officially made public whether or not the tendon tear is partial or full, which would make a difference as far as recovery is concerned. But general manager Ozzie Newsome released a statement conveying a message that the surgery performed on the team's all-time sack leader was successful.
“Terrell [Suggs] had a successful surgical procedure done on his Achilles tendon this afternoon by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, [N.C.]," Newsome said. "After some recovery time, ‘Sizzle’ will begin the process of rehabbing the area.
"We know he will work hard to get back on the field with his teammates as soon as the doctors and trainers allow. We’re confident that he can make a full recovery.”
The defense got a further boost from the three-year contract extension granted to strong safety Bernard Pollard -- putting him under contract through 2015 -- as well as a four-year rookie contracts agreed to with cornerback/return specialist Asa "Ace" Jackson, a fifth-round draft pick from Cal Poly.
The hard-hitting Pollard, best known for putting New England quarterback Tom Brady out for an entire season with a low hit while he was with the Kansas City Chiefs, has the physical temperament that makes him a good fit with the Ravens, according to Newsome.
Pollard had a career-high 13 pass breakups last year, an interception, two sacks and three forced fumbles.
"Bernard showed last year that he is a Raven,” Newsome said. “He's smart, tough and brings a passion to the games, our practices and in the weight room. His physical presence on the back end is very important to the way we play defense.
"He has indicated since the first day he stepped into our building last training camp that he wanted to be a Raven for the long haul."
Not only that, but McBean got a bit of good news when his possible six-game suspension under the league's substance-abuse policy was reduced to three games when he agreed to drop a lawsuit against the league regarding the way his test was handled.
McBean was made available by the Broncos in the free-agent mark when, ironically, the team decided to bring back ex-Ravens defensive tackle Justin Bannan, who also played in Buffalo after leaving Baltimore.
Jackson was not the only one of the team's eight-man draft class with whom a deal was reached.
Former Iowa State guard/tackle Kelechi Osemele -- already known simply as "KO" to the coaching staff -- also inked a four-year contract as the Ravens attempt to stabilize their offensive line.
Plus, in the Ravens' never-ending quest to bolster their return game -- an area where Jackson is sure to contribute -- the team signed ex-Houston Texans free agent Jacoby Jones to a two-year, $7 million deal.
Previous free-agent visits, such as those from ex-Philadelphia guard Evan Mathis and former New England pass rusher Mark Anderson, resulted in those players leaving town and signing contracts elsewhere.
However, the 6-foot-2, 212-pound Jones -- who mishandled two punts in the Texans' loss to the Ravens in the Divisional Playoff round last winter -- came into Baltimore over the weekend and agreed to terms before making a proposed visit to the Carolina Panthers.
"Adding Jacoby gives us another proven downfield weapon in our passing game and production with our returns," Newsome said in a statement. "His experience makes the offense better, and the competition he brings can help raise our levels at receiver and with punt and kickoff returns."
In five years with the Texans -- who won their first-ever AFC South Division crown and made their initial playoff appearance in 2011 -- Jones caught 127 passes and scored 11 touchdowns while averaging 13.7 yards per catch.
Jones' acquisition raises the Ravens' roster total to 88 players, just two short of the newly adopted 90-man limit. Previously, offseason roster limits had been 80, but the maximum was raised to 90 last year because of the lockout.
Coaching staffs around the league seemed to like the new arrangement, which gave them more available bodies at practice and more options for their own rosters.
Posted May 9, 2012