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Terrell Suggs adds experience but still can learn from Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Terrell Suggs, center, takes part in the team's offseason strength and conditioning program with teammates at the Cardinals NFL training center, Tuesday, April 9, 2019 in Tempe, Ariz. Suggs, who played his college football at Arizona State, was signed by the Cardinals as a free agent. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman D.J. Humphries is entering his fifth year in the NFL. Linebacker Terrell Suggs is going on No. 18.

It was veteran versus youngster at the start of mandatory mini-camp on Tuesday.

“I told him earlier, I was like, ‘Man, you got me all those early 2000s moves I haven’t seen those before, I was in middle school,'” Humphries said. “I’ve got to get ready for those. I’m used to all the, you know, 2010-and-beyond moves. I had to work back in some of those moves I hadn’t seen since, like, Madden ’05 and stuff.”

When Humphries was playing Madden in middle school, Suggs was putting up double-digit sacks in his first two years with the Baltimore Ravens. All these years later, Suggs found himself back under the hot sun of Arizona on a green practice field in Tempe, the same city where he attended school at Arizona State University.

Suggs was in high school at Hamilton in Chandler, Ariz. before that. The hometown product should know the Cardinals logo well.

“When I first got the decal, I was just like looking at it like, ‘Alright, here we go,'” Suggs said. “You switch from one bird to another, from one color helmet to another. So it’s all football, at the end of the day.”

In a new uniform but a familiar vocation, Suggs joins a Cardinals group with a legend on the roster, Larry Fitzgerald. But even No. 11 has one fewer year in the league than Suggs.

“He’s seen a lot of football, been in a lot of systems,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Suggs. “He’s a very, very smart football player. And you can hear him talking throughout practice and pointing things out and coaching. So that’s great for our defense.

“I think a combination of both [on and off-the-field contribution]. I think even having him out there today, just has juice, championship pedigree and the way he carries himself. He was in great shape. He’s such a great guy for any of those defensive linemen and pass-rushers to learn from.”

And yet Suggs will tell you that even he still has something to learn.

“Absolutely,” he said when asked if he can learn from fellow linebacker Chandler Jones.

“I ain’t never had 17 sacks in a season. Most definitely I can learn something. So I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

Suggs had a career-high 14 sacks in 2011, when he was named All-Pro. He’s had double-digit sacks seven times in 17 years, including two seasons ago (11). He had seven sacks last season with 34 tackles.

How much he’ll produce remains to be seen, although he said the schemes in the Cardinals defense are similar to what he saw in Baltimore. He also benefits from being on the field with Jones, himself a former All-Pro selection.

“They’re good for each other, I think,” Kingsbury said of the duo. “It’s going to be hard to single either one of those guys and so one of those guys is going to be in a favorable matchup. It’s just going to help both of them.”

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Humphries jokingly referred to Jones and Suggs as “Big Sizz” and “Little Sizz,” referring to Suggs’ nickname, T-Sizzle (also pointing out that Jones didn’t like that nickname).

And maybe Suggs can learn from Jones like he said, even though Jones is seven years younger. Suggs’ Madden ’05 moves can still work in today’s NFL, though.

“You can tell when you play with a guy that’s played so long ago, that started so long ago and to playing with guys like Chandler and stuff like that, and how different the moves are, how different their game is,” Humphries said. “Both are very effective, it’s just interesting to see how different the game style is and how you go about it and stuff.”

In an evolving NFL, Suggs game could evolve, too.

“You’ve just got to adjust,” Suggs said. “You’ve got to be able to adapt to the changing times. If you want to stick around, you want to stay around, you’ve got to adapt to the times. And if that’s what all times are going to, you’ve just got to learn how to win.”

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