Head to Head: Ravens DE Terrell Suggs vs. Steelers RT Flozell Adams

A closer look at the game within the game

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Flozell Adams wears a size 22 shoe, which means when he goes to Heinz Field for the AFC divisional playoff game Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens his feet will arrive five minutes before he does.

But that is not all that will precede him.

His reputation will, too.

Adams, 35, is known as one of the nastiest players in the National Football League, a five-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle who was penalized and fined for three separate incidents in the 2009 season. The fines were nearly as much as those levied against Steelers linebacker James Harrison this season.

"That is pretty much his reputation," said Ravens defensive end Terrell Suggs, no altar boy himself.

But Adams is also known as one of the most durables tackles in the league, too, and he proved it in his first season with the Steelers.

Since he became a starter in his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys in 1998, Adams has started every game in 11 of the next 12 NFL seasons, including all 16 this season. Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey is the only other player on the offensive line to start every game in 2010.

In fact, Adams has missed 10 games in his 13-year career, and they all came in the 2005 season when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Even after he sustained a high-ankle sprain when the Steelers beat the Ravens, 13-10, Dec. 5 in Baltimore -- an injury that usually requires at least two weeks to heal --Adams played the next week against Cincinnati.

"That's not in my resume," Adams said. "If I can go, no matter any shape or form, I go. It's just another nagging injury. That's part of football. You got to play through it."

The Steelers are glad Adams is on their side.

They signed him to a two-year, $10 million contract right before training camp to replace right tackle Willie Colon, who sustained a season-ending injury in July. And he is still standing, despite heat dehydration in Tennessee in Week 2, despite a couple of ankle injuries.

His teammates said he is energized by playing on a team that has a chance to win more than one playoff game in 13 years, which is how many Adams won in six career playoff appearances with the Cowboys. They also say he is not as mean as he appears.

"He comes across as a big, ornery guy, but, soon as he got integrated into our O-line room, he's a big goofball," said Trai Essex. "He's always sending us funny text messages."

"I'm a fun guy," Adams said.

That demeanor changes on the field, and the Steelers will need some of that against Suggs, a one-man wrecking crew for the Ravens in the last meeting. He was literally all over the field, registering 1 1/2 sacks, four tackles for losses and five quarterback hurries. And he kept flip-flopping sides, pressuring from the right and left, whether in the Ravens' base 4-3 defense or substitution packages.

"He's a heckuva player," Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said of Suggs, who led the Ravens with 11 sacks in the regular season. "Whoever draws his number, you got an all-day job."

His reputation precedes him, too.


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