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Ravens LB Ayanbadejo approves of gay marriage vote

Ravens LB Ayanbadejo approves of gay marriage vote

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo was delighted to learn that the majority of Maryland voters shared his opinion on same sex marriage.

``I'm so stoked. It's like I woke up and it's Christmas,'' Ayanbadejo said Wednesday, one day after gay marriage in the state was approved at the ballot box by a narrow margin.

Baltimore's locker room reflects society, so not all of Ayanbadejo's teammates shared his enthusiasm about the historic decision.

``When it's all said and done, there are a lot of guys on this team that stand firmly behind what the Bible says - that a man marries a woman and a woman marries a man,'' safety Bernard Pollard said.

The strong, opposite viewpoints have not divided the Ravens' locker room. While players on both sides are passionate about their stances, they haven't let their differences get in the way of the team's unified quest for a playoff berth.

The Ravens (6-2) host Oakland (3-5) on Sunday.

Before Tuesday, gays and lesbians had been granted the right to marry by courts and state legislatures, but proponents of gay marriage had been defeated in voting by more than 30 states.

The Ravens have continued their business-like approach to football during the political discourse, but their convictions about the issue run deep within the testosterone-filled environment.

Ayanbadejo spoke out in favor of same-sex marriage on several occasions prior to Maryland's vote on Question 6.

``It's something I've been passionate about a long time,'' he said. ``Even though it doesn't affect me directly, it affects a lot of my friends. It affects my family. It affects Ravens fans. It affects Marylanders. I've worked very hard on it; I'm especially proud of the Marylanders who went out and voted and made a difference.''

Whether his teammates like it or not.

``The majority of the people got it right,'' Ayanbadejo said. ``Who cares what they think in the locker room? Who cares what they think anywhere? The people decided. People have to take heed and listen to what people are crying for and what they are wanting. The majority of people voted it in.

``It's a done deal and we did the right thing. It took too long. It shouldn't have been up to other people to decide other people's fate as far as who they can marry. But we're progressing, so I'm happy about that.''

As Ayanbadejo spoke in front of his cubicle, several players made noise behind him to show their displeasure.

Pollard was not one of them. Nor was Ravens center Matt Birk, who wrote an editorial last month in The (Baltimore) Sun voicing his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Birk was not available for comment Wednesday, but Pollard was happy to give his own take on the issue.

``It shows you that people in high power are changing what was set for a very long time,'' he said. ``These are the principles, man, this is what life is about. But when it's all said and done, they came in and changed it.''

Pollard was not bitter. Just disappointed.

``I'm not going to treat anybody any different. I think anybody who knows me knows that,'' he said. ``I'm going to love you just like I did. Whatever lifestyle you want to live, you're entitled to that. I think you are. It's just that, for us, we've got to continue to live life and continue to pray.''

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Suggs insists thought of retiring didn't cross his mind during rehab

Suggs insists thought of retiring didn't cross his mind during rehab

OWINGS MILLS – Not only does 33-year-old Terrell Suggs expect to be back on the field soon, the Ravens’ outside linebacker expects to play at a high level for several more seasons after recovering from his torn Achilles injury.

“It’s a fair question,” said Suggs on Wednesday, when asked what can realistically be expected from him in 2016. “This is 14 years for me. I came here a young 20-year-old, really didn’t know anything. I had some of the greatest Jedi Masters teaching me. It’s a fair question. We’ve seen a lot of Ravens come and go, and I’m one of the last few here. It’s a fair question, but in my eyes, premature.”

Suggs will begin training camp on the PUP list, but vows to be back soon.

“It’s not going to be long,” Suggs said. “We’re close to where we want to be. I can’t be timid, but I got to be smart. I feel good.”

Suggs suffered his season-ending Achilles injury Week 1 of last season, and has torn each of his Achilles once. Is it asking a lot for Suggs to still be an every-down player and double-digit sack artist? Yes. Does he sound up for the challenge? Yes.

MORE RAVENS: SUGGS' SHIRT ENDORSES GAME OF THRONES TICKET IN 2016 ELECTION

”Never did it cross my mind that I wasn’t going to come back,” Suggs said. “I got a lot of promises to keep. Many miles before I can sleep.  I love football. I love the locker room. I love my teammates. I love being out here being confrontational.”

Suggs also made it clear he wanted to silence doubters.

“We hear the gossip,” Suggs said. “We hear what y’all are saying. We’re confident, but motivated, too.”

One of the toughest parts of missing last season for Suggs was watching the Ravens go 5-11, and being unable to help.

“It was very tough to watch, and knowing what the guys went through, and for us to not have the success that we expected,” Suggs said. “It just didn’t feel good. Now we get a chance to kind of make it right. Last year’s gone, but we have to make sure that (same) team doesn’t show up Sept. 11 again. We work too hard. Our fans deserve better and we deserve better. We work our tails off. It takes a lot to be considered a Raven. We just got to get back to that.”

How well Suggs plays this year will play a part in determining his future. But as far as Suggs is concerned, it’s too early to start talking about his last ride.

“It’s not something I want to visit at the end of this year, or the end of next year,” Suggs said. “Maybe the year after that we can talk about it. What will I be, 36 then? But I’m not worried about it right now.”

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PHOTO: Suggs endorses Game of Thrones ticket with 2016 election T-shirt

PHOTO: Suggs endorses Game of Thrones ticket with 2016 election T-shirt

BY JEREMY FIALKOW (@JeremyFialkow)

Who are you voting for — Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Before you answer, let's turn to Ravens' outside linebacker Terrell Suggs for some other options.

Suggs, who's ready to make his triumphant return to football after a couple season-derailing injuries, tossed out his 2016 election endorsement to ... the Stark/Targaryen ticket?

The names, of course, stem from two powerful family names in HBO's hit show 'Game of Thrones.' 

(Screenshot/CSN Mid-Atlantic)

Whether Suggs actually stays up to date with 'Thrones' or if the network gifted him merchandise from all of their shows remains to be seen. Regardless, T-Sizzle is starting a movement, so climb aboard.

RELATED: FLACCO WON'T RUSH KNEE INJURY REHAB

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Justin Forsett not trying to hear about running-back-by-committee system

Justin Forsett not trying to hear about running-back-by-committee system

OWINGS MILLS – That running-back-by-committee system the Ravens are thinking about using? Justin Forsett isn’t feeling that.

What’s running-back-by-committee?” Forsett deadpanned. “I don’t understand that.”

Forsett laughed, but he was serious about retaining his starting job and doing the bulk of the work at running back. The Ravens are deep at the position, with Forsett, Buck Allen, rookie Kenneth Davis, Terrance West, Lorenzo Taliaferro all ready for Thursday’s first full training camp practice, while Trent Richardson (knee) remains on the PUP list.

MORE RAVENS: WHY FLACCO WON'T RUSH TO PLAY IN PRESEASON

Forsett will turn 31 years old in October, and even if he retains the starting job, the Ravens are leaning toward reducing his carries. But Forsett enters training camp thinking he can still be a 200-carry, 1000-yard rusher. 

“I grew up with old school running backs,” Forsett said. “I love watching them play - Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, all those guys. Of course if you’re a running back, everybody wants to on the field all the time. I’m going to put myself in a position where they can’t take me off the field. That’s my mentality. At the end of the day, everybody has their role. I’ll let coach decide that.” 

Even if Forsett doesn’t carry the ball as much as he would like, count on him being a consummate team player. All of the Ravens’ younger backs will benefit from being around Forsett, who starts training camp vowing not to give in, to age, or to his running back competition.

“My goal is to go out and lead this team to a Super Bowl,” Forsett said. “I’m going to try to put myself in a position to do so. This is my ninth training camp. It’s a blessing. Me being fired three times throughout my career, traveling to five different teams, I don’t take it for granted.”