ITEM: Suggs' torn Achilles, and aftermath
Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, sustained what he termed a "partially torn" Achilles tendon. Initially, there was some speculation that Suggs had sustained the injury while playing basketball, but he subsequently said it happened while working out in Arizona in preparation for the 2012 NFL season.
"We do a conditioning test every year and I was practicing it," Suggs said via text message to Aaron Wilson. "And I went to stop and turn and I thought I sprained it. Went to doc and said it's a partial tear."
The most typical rehabilitation time for a torn Achilles is in the 11-month range, but Suggs told ESPN's Rachel Nichols that he will be back on the field by the middle of the 2012 season.
"Absolutely, middle to end of October," Suggs said. "Definitely beginning of November. I love how you guys (the media) are saying 'out for the season.' Just gonna make my comeback that much bigger. I've never had a real bad injury before. Sometimes you have to go through something like this to make you better."
Suggs, 29, led the Ravens with a career-high 14 sacks last season and forced a franchise-record seven fumbles.
"We are in contact with Terrell," the Ravens said in a statement. "He will see a specialist, and we'll know more at that time."
There have been many reports on various outlets since the injury, and many of them are conflicting. While ESPN, via Rachel Nichols and Adam Schefter, are reporting that Suggs will return to the field before Thanksgiving, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman cited league sources in his report that while the Ravens are remaining publicly hopeful, behind closed doors they're not counting on having Suggs for the 2012 season.
Ravens Coach John Harbaugh offered some encouraging words to Suggs in his first public comments about the injury, but he also offered no timetable for his return.
"He will be OK, Terrell Suggs will be fine. He will be back," Harbaugh told a local Baltimore television station. "He will go to work on that rehab like no other. He will continue to be a huge part of what we are doing, continue to be a leader and then the young guys will step up. They will step forward, and you are a football team first, you are a team, team is not one guy."
The Ravens' options for Suggs' spot include No. 2 pick Courtney Upshaw, who posted 9.5 sacks at Alabama in 2011; Sergio Kindle, the team's No. 1 pick in 2010 who has yet to play after fracturing his skull shortly after being drafted; former No. 2 pick Paul Kruger, who had 5.5 sacks last season and had been seen as the front-runner to replace Jarrett Johnson on the other end of the line of scrimmage, and Pernell McPhee, a former sixth-round pick who posted six sacks as a rookie in 2011.
While those are the obvious in-house options, CBSSports.com's Clark Judge suggested in a recent column that the Ravens try to swing a trade for disgruntled Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora.
Harbaugh, though, painted a different picture of the team's plan.
"My heart went out to Terrell because he was so down about it, it was so hard for him to actually spit out what had happened," Harbaugh said. "He didn't want to tell me because he felt so bad about it. Once we got past that, then I felt bad about it. Once I got past feeling bad about how he felt bad about it, then I felt bad about it. We are going to be fine. I got a chance to talk to Ray [Lewis, Ravens linebacker] and a lot of the players and you move forward, that's what it's all about, you just move forward and the next guy steps in."
ITEM: For Weeden, age is just a number
Brandon Weeden spent five seasons in minor-league baseball and another five years in Oklahoma State's football program, which means he begins his career as a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns as a 28-year-old.
"My baseball background, what I've been through, the adversity I've been through, it really prepares me for what I am about to go through," Weeden told the Beacon-Journal. "I think being 28 years old is an advantage for me. I use it as an advantage because my body is still fresh. I still have a lot of football left in my tank. I never really saw any negatives because I have to answer the question [about my age] all the time. I really see it as a positive, and I think it's really going to help in the locker room. I think it's going to help me prepare on a daily basis to become the best player I can become."
With Weeden the apparent future at quarterback for the team, a decision must be made on Colt McCoy, who started 21 games at quarterback the past two seasons. President Mike Holmgren and coach Pat Shurmur said no decision has been made on a possible trade.
"He's different than all the other quarterbacks that were drafted ahead of him or behind him [because of] his age and his maturity and what he brings immediately to the table," Holmgren said of Weeden. "Now you couple that with his skill level, which is pretty obvious on film, and he has the potential I think to play well sooner because of that than other quarterbacks in the draft. So he became very attractive to us."
ITEM: Maualuga calmed by Bengals' draft
Rey Maualuga was more worried than excited about the players the Cincinnati Bengals might draft with their two first-round draft choices.
"I have fans here in Cincinnati. And I have the ones that don't like me. Who didn't think I had a good season and want me to get out of here," Maualuga told Geoff Hobson of Bengals. "We had two first-round picks and you hear these things going around. Are they going to trade up to get this Cincinnati native or are they going to pick (Dont'a) Hightower? I don't know."
The Bengals didn't trade up to get St. Xavier High School's Luke Kuechly, and they passed on Hightower twice before he was picked by the New England Patriots.