Up Close With Baltimore Ravens Linebacker Terrell Suggs

Few players in the NFL are as feared as Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, aka T-Sizzle. The five-time Pro Bowler and 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year added the most illustrious of additions to his résumé this year, winning his first Super Bowl in a memorable victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

One thing you may be surprised to find on Suggs’ resume: filmmaker. As the President and CEO of his production company, Team Sizzle Worldwide, Suggs has been dabbling in the film world, including co-writing his newest release, The Coalition, currently out on Blu-ray and DVD. The movie, inspired by actual events, is a revenge story that tells “what happens when women turn the tables.” Muscle & Fitness talked to T-Sizzle about the movie, winning the Lombardi Trophy, and how he’s staying in shape this off-season.

Muscle & Fitness: Has the Super Bowl high come down yet? What’s been your favorite new memory in the time since you guys beat the 49ers?

Terrell Suggs: (Laughs) Well, I guess my favorite new memory is when the clock went to zero, and all the confetti fell on my face. I would definitely say that. But it really hasn’t hit me yet, what we’ve accomplished; I’m still in a daze. Since then, I’ve just been relaxing really, spending a lot of time with family. Went to a couple of [Miami] Heat games…[I’m a] big King James fan.

He’s having some year, huh? What is really left to say about LeBron at this point? Do you think we’re witnessing probably the greatest pure athlete of all time?

Definitely, I mean, he’s a big physical mismatch. There’s no human being that can stop him from doing what he wants to do. Last person that we’ve seen do that is Michael Jordan. But definitely, it seems like something clicked, not just this year, but the past two years.

What kind of emotions/thoughts do you go through with a player like Ray Lewis leaving? Do you already feel the need to take on a greater leadership role on defense next season?

You know, we haven’t really thought about next year yet. We’re still riding off the emotions of this past season. Still when he announced he was retiring, it was like, woah, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. We all know the sun is going to set on all of our NFL careers one day, but for the past 10 years he’s been my teammate. It definitely threw me for a loop.

Who in the NFLbesides you, of courseis the biggest badass on the field? 

I respect a few offensive players, but I’d rather not let them know that. (Laughs) But there’s a lot of defensive players I respect like DeMarcus Ware, Patrick Willis. I have to give it to my teammate Haloti [Ngata]. Haloti is just a beast. Geno Atkins, he’s awesome. Jared Allen, of course. That’s just to name a few, but there’s more than a few.

So what does your off-season training/workout regimen consist of? Is it pretty strict, or do you just try to keep up with certain good routines year-to-year?

I usually just stick to a few routines, but this year, you know, coming back off an injury, I will add a little more to my regimen. Just getting back to early stuff like plyometrics and things of that sort. I usually I do a lot of pass rush stuff, working on [coverage] drops—definitely before it gets hot. Even when it does get hot, I just don’t do it as much, since I train In Phoenix, Arizona. But this year, I’m definitely going to be a little more strict.

What would you say is your favorite workout and your least favorite workout?

My favorite…I would definitely have to say the decline bench, with a barbell or with dumbbells—anything for my arms because I have a lot of upper body strength, so it helps me build up for my striking. My least favorite—definitely pulling the sled outside, or tire flips. Pretty much those two, and definitely that rope. (Laughs) I hate that rope.

What is your diet like during the off-season compared to the regular season? Are you guilty of a little cheating? When you work out, do you have any go-to meals for recovery?

You know what, usually I could cheat a little bit more, but I can’t this year. Like I said, coming back off the injury, I have to keep it strict. Basically lots of greens to help flush out the system. Need to stick to the proteins—the muscle fuel. You got to have your shakes. And if I’m working out in the morning, definitely steak and eggs—whites always, of course. Can’t go wrong with that.

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What’s your opinion on the current landscape in the NFL as far as concussions and other head injuries? Are you a traditionalist or do you believe in some type of reform?

Basically, it’s a catch-22. I kind of want things to stay the same, but, in the same breath, we don’t want anybody to get hurt. I don’t want to have psychological issues after I’m done playing football, or things of that nature. But I also know what I signed up for. Like I said, it’s a catch-22. If a player that’s retired has those issues, then the NFL should be required to pay for his medical treatment. But yeah, it’s a sticky issue.

Do you think of your own physical and mental health down the line?

Nah, not at all. I mean, we’re all modern day gladiators, but, no one is going to be able to take better care of you than yourself, and you have to be responsible enough to know when it’s time to walk away.

How did Team Sizzle Worldwide come about? 

From being a kid, I knew I was going to do film. I just didn’t have the resources to make them back then. When I got older, I tried writing little scripts here and there, but they were not in the proper format. As I’ve grown, I learned to put them in script format. Monica [film partner/director] taught me about the three-act structure. You just have to learn as you go. Working with Final Draft and other programs like that, it helps.

How do you think your acting chops compare to some of the other athletes trying to make it in Hollywood? Did you enjoy your experience trying out comedy on The League?

(Laughs) Definitely, I had a great time doing that. It was pretty easy, you know, all I had to do was be myself and talk football. I’d definitely love to do something more challenging. Some of the [athletes] that get into acting just got it. At the drop of a hat they can just light up a screen and make you laugh or entertain you. One of my personal favorites is Blake Griffin in all of those commercials. He’s doing a great job of knocking them out.

What can you tell us about The Coalition? Do you expect guys to like a movie about a group of women getting revenge on them?

Definitely, definitely. Because if [the viewer] is out there serial dating, it’s either happened to them, or the movie can prevent it from happening to them. But really, this is a film for everyone, it’s not just about women getting back at men, it’s about betrayal and friendship. It’s really a story about relationships and the decisions you make.

Where do you see your career going after football?

Academy Awards. That’s my next Mount Everest, definitely. We climbed the first one winning the Lombardi Trophy, and to be totally honest with you, I’m not satisfied. I’d like to win at least one more, if not two. At least I can knock that off my bucket list. But I would definitely like to, if not win an Academy Award, at least be nominated for one. I got into this business to be one of the best; I don’t want to be no ghost, in the NFL world or the film world. I would like the world to know I was there.

Would you take on a really interesting film role to help your chances? Sometimes you really need to go for those unconventional roles.

Yeah, sometimes you have to take that chance. I would love to, but (Laughs), yeah, I’m more than willing to do it. I think we could definitely take on a controversial film at Team Sizzle.