NFL

Measuring the Impact of Terrell Suggs' Achilles Injury

With the news that Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles’ tendon last weekend, it obviously raises great concerns in how Baltimore will deal with the injury. Suggs has said that it is a partial tear and told Rachel Nichols that he will be back by mid-season. That is extremely optimistic of Suggs. The full recovery time is at least nine months for a full tear, and as this CBS report states, coming back by October from a partial tear would be “a stunningly fast recovery from such an injury.” Even if he returns by the end of the year, and can get not only medically cleared but back in football shape, he will miss a substantial portion of the season.

Twenty-nine other players, via searches using the play finder at pro football reference, have been a first team all-pro on defense since the merger, and then missed ten or more of their team’s games the following season. A handful retired, and of course there was Jerome Brown’s tragic car accident, while the rest suffered injuries. Here is the full list, in reverse chronological order:

The average result for this group? The points allowed per game went from 17.3 to 20.8, a 3.5 point increase. The average wins dropped from 9.8 wins to 7.9 wins, almost a 2 win drop.

As for the players involved, there was high variability in how they came back for the rest of their careers, depending on age, nature of the injury, and other miscellaneous factors. Some went on to play at a high level, like Bruce Smith, Rod Woodson, and Ray Lewis. Others weren’t really ever the same, with talents like Bubba Smith, Keith Millard, John Offerdahl, and Bob Sanders never reaching their prior performance.

Already replacing Jarrett Johnson as well, Baltimore will look to some combination of draft selection Courtney Upshaw, Sergio Kindle, Pernell McPhee and Paul Kruger to fill the roles. History would say that there will be an impact, and whether someone develops to fill that role will dictate just how much. It’s been more than a field goal for the other cases of a team losing a star defender for most of the year.

[photo via US Presswire]

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