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Often loud, Suggs takes quiet approach on Day 1

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Often loud, Suggs takes quiet approach on Day 1

NEW ORLEANS (AP) As Terrell Suggs made his way to his seat for his first media appearance of Super Bowl week, a member of the Baltimore Ravens' PR staff pointed at the linebacker and whispered to a colleague: ``I think somebody should be here.''

Yes, generally, better safe than sorry with Suggs. Never know what he's liable to say.

Except this time, the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year was hardly a loud mouth. Not in the mood, apparently, to stir things up before his Ravens face the San Francisco 49ers for the NFL championship next Sunday.

Given a chance to crack wise or lob insults on a variety of topics - from President Barack Obama's concerns about football safety to New York Jets coach Rex Ryan's tattoo - Suggs was soft-spoken and thoughtful Monday. Even made sure to praise the 49ers.

Now we'll see what happens Tuesday in the circus that is Super Bowl media day.

The last time Suggs was seen leaving the field after a football game, he was tossing curse words and insults in the direction of the New England Patriots after Baltimore's defense shut out Tom Brady and Co. throughout the second half of a 28-13 victory in the AFC championship game.

Since then, Suggs has kept things low key within earshot of reporters, aside from the occasional non sequitur shouted in the locker room at the Ravens' practice facility last week.

Asked Monday whether he would be providing any bulletin-board material for the 49ers to latch onto, Suggs quietly replied: ``Maybe. Got to wait and see. I mean, nothing I do is scripted, so got to wait and see what I come off the noggin with, when I come off the top.''

Yet as he sat there in front of microphones and cameras, wearing a pinstriped gray suit with polka-dot tie and just-so pocket square, Suggs sounded mostly, well, scripted.

He did make sure to correct a reporter who opened a question by pronouncing Suggs' first name incorrectly - for the record, the emphasis goes on the second syllable, not the first - but otherwise said many of the right things.

Someone wanted an assessment of 49ers left tackle Joe Staley, one of the players who will try to slow Suggs' pass rush, and this is what came forth: ``Solid. Very good offensive tackle. I think he's highly underrated, but he was a Pro Bowler this year, so I think he finally got his just due.''

Then Suggs thought back to Baltimore's 16-6 victory over San Francisco last season and offered this: ``Had a little bit of a hard time with him. You know, he's a great player.''

What about San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the guy Suggs will be chasing Sunday?

``I like the way he plays,'' Suggs said.

Someone else wanted a nickname for Baltimore's defense. No luck there, either.

``Ask me on Feb. 4,'' the day after the Super Bowl, was the reply.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

When the topic turned to Obama's recent statement about wondering whether he'd let a son play football, Suggs gave a considered response, saying that he respects that point of view ``for the simple fact that this is a very physical and dangerous sport that we play.''

Asked whether he would allow his own 4-year-old son to pick up the sport, Suggs said: ``Absolutely, but it would have to be his choice. Football isn't for everybody. If my son ... came to me and said, `Dad, I want to play football,' then I would let him play.''

Toward the end of Suggs' interview session, a reporter brought up Ryan's body art.

After playfully saying to the reporter, ``Are you from New York? Last I checked, it was 49ers-Ravens. ... The Jets are nowhere around,'' Suggs launched into a from-the-heart discussion (OK, with some kidding around, too) about what the media doesn't need to know.

``Who cares? I've probably got something on my (body) that y'all don't see that's probably inappropriate, but who cares? I think you blow that all out of proportion,'' he said. ``Everybody should have a certain amount of privacy, even if they're in the public eye. ... We're not just football players. We're not just coaches. We're human beings, too, and just keep that in mind.''

It's been a difficult season for Suggs, who played in only eight of 16 regular-season games because of injuries. He missed the first six weeks because of an Achilles tendon problem, then also missed time with a torn right biceps.

A guy with four double-digit season sack totals - including a career-high 14 in 2011, when he also led the league with seven forced fumbles - only had two in 2012.

As someone who, as he put it, has ``rarely ever been injured,'' it wasn't easy to deal with. But his teammates are sure he's rounding into form at the right time, the postseason.

``He's what you want in front of you - a playmaker, a guy who never stops,'' Ravens safety Ed Reed said. ``And he's been playing like that in the last three (games).''

One more game to go.

And five more days to watch what he says.

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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League has official date for Ravens' game in London

League has official date for Ravens' game in London

On Friday morning, the league announced the official date of the Ravens-Jaguars game in London.

The Ravens get a Week 3 matchup at Wembley Stadium against the Jaguars.

The Ravens could have had a Week 3 or 4 date against the Jaguars, but the time of the kickoff remains a mystery until a later date.

MORE RAVENS: Rare spinal condition forces Zach Orr to retire

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Ravens' Zach Orr forced to retire due to rare spinal condition

Ravens' Zach Orr forced to retire due to rare spinal condition

OWINGS MILLS – Ravens inside linebacker Zach Orr had no choice but to retire, after a physical examination detected a spinal condition that made it extremely dangerous for him to continue his career.

“I have a condition that I was born with,” Orr said Friday, making his formal retirement announcement during a press conference. “I’m forced to walk away from the game of football.”

Orr said a CAT scan revealed a rare congenital abnormality, and that the top of his spinal column had never fully developed. Orr was never aware of his issue until he suffered a shoulder injury against the Steelers on Christmas that led to further testing.

While Orr never imagined he would retire at age 24, he felt blessed to be leaving the game before his condition led to a catastrophic injury. Orr has been playing football with his spinal condition since he was nine years old, and said doctors could not explain how he had played so long without his issue being detected.

“When I first found out the news, it was shocking,” Orr said. “Football is something I’ve done my whole life.”

Orr said retirement was his only option, because he would never pass an NFL physical. He also said that reports the Ravens tried to talk him out of retirement were inaccurate.

“They’ve supported me through this,” said Orr, who added that one of his high school teammates was paralyzed playing football.

Orr kept his composure during the press conference, but admitted he took the news hard at first. One of those emotional moments came after a telephone conversation with recently retired wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.

“I broke down a couple of times, as recent as a couple of days ago,” Orr said.

Three of Orr’s teammates attended Friday’s press conference – linebackers C. J. Mosley and Albert McClellan, and safety Eric Weddle. General manager Ozzie Newsome, coach John Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Dean Pees, and linebackers coach Don Martindale were also in attendance. Orr is one of the most popular and respected players in the locker room. An undrafted free agent in 2014, Orr made the team as a special teams standout and earned a starting job for the first time this season. He led the Ravens in tackles (130), finishing 10th in the NFL in that department.

Orr had a bright future as a player. Now, that future will head in another direction.

“Instead of asking – ‘Why me?, ask ‘What’s next?’” Orr said.

“I’m very proud that he’s been a Raven,” said Harbaugh. “I can’t wait to see what the next door holds.”

Related: Ravens name their new offensive line coach