Cards' Suggs rejected 'handsome' Ravens offer

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Veteran linebacker Terrell Suggs said Thursday afternoon that he turned down a "handsome" offer from the Baltimore Ravens and decided at the last minute to sign with the Arizona Cardinals, his hometown team.

Suggs, who grew up in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, said the Cardinals were the only team he ever considered playing for if he ever left Baltimore. After 16 seasons, that's what happened this week.

"It was just time," the 36-year-old Suggs said. "That organization, that team is very special and dear to me, but so is the Valley of the Sun. It feels good to be wearing Cardinal red now."

The Cardinals contacted Suggs on Monday, he said. He watched some tape, he added, and then signed Thursday.

Suggs starred at Arizona State before the Ravens drafted him 10th overall in 2003. The Cardinals had the sixth overall pick that year but traded it to the New Orleans Saints. Suggs said he was disappointed at the time but that leaving Arizona was "necessary" and "it all worked out in the end."

Suggs, who has lived in Arizona during the offseason throughout his career, said his decision to leave Baltimore was "very difficult," but, in the end, "this is home for me." The Ravens' offseason moves contributed to Suggs' decision "a little."

When the 2018 season ended, Suggs felt there was an 80 percent chance he'd return to the Ravens in 2019.

"But I was realistic with myself [that] there was a possibility that I could still leave," he said. "After weighing my options and everything that happened, I just felt like it was time to turn the page, and here we are."

A "few" teams inquired about Suggs, he said, but it came down to either staying in Baltimore or signing with Arizona. Suggs didn't reject the Ravens' offer but waited until the "last hour" to decide on the Cardinals.

The Cardinals will play the Ravens in Baltimore next season.

By signing with the Cardinals, which Suggs said was a possibility "a couple times" throughout his career, he enters a situation vastly different than the one he left. Ravens coach John Harbaugh is entering his 12th season as head coach. The Cardinals are on their third head coach, Kliff Kingsbury, in as many seasons.

"It's definitely exciting," Suggs said. "Change can be scary but also necessary. It's very exciting. The possibilities is just very fun. It's very fun. It's amazing what a breath of fresh air can kind of do to revive you, so to say. So, I think everyone is looking forward to it, to see what this organization and this team can do."

Suggs, who had seven sacks and 34 tackles while starting all 16 games last season, is tied for 13th on the NFL's all-time sacks list with 132.5. With Julius Peppers' retirement, he's now the highest-ranked active player.

At 36, Suggs isn't sure how much he has left but wants to play "a couple more years." Other than that, his response to questions about whether he can get double-digits sacks or play 60-plus snaps per game was one of curiosity.

"I guess we're going to find out," he said. "I'm excited to find out. Let's see. Let's see. Let's see how much we got left. We ain't going to cap it."