On a team featuring longtime stars Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, Suggs stood out most for a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. He earned 21 votes, seven more than Minnesota end Jared Allen.
"There is not a harder worker in football than Terrell Suggs," said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. "I don't think people always understand and realize that because of his personality. This guy takes it very seriously -- pass rush, run defense, studying the opposing offense, studying the particulars of the guys he's going against. To me that's what makes him great."
Suggs had 70 tackles, including 14 sacks, and was a force all over the field from his hybrid linebacker-end position. He also forced seven fumbles and had two interceptions as the Ravens went 12-4 to win the AFC North. Baltimore allowed 266 points, third fewest in the NFL.
Safety Reed won the award in 2004, while Lewis won in 2000 and 2003.
Lewis said Suggs understands that it's one thing to be considered a pass rusher, and another to be considered the complete defensive player that he is today.
"That's why when you sit back and watch him year after year, week after week, I am just proud to say that I love how he understands the game now," Lewis said.
Also receiving votes were defensive end/defensive tackle Justin Smith of San Francisco, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants, linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman of San Francisco and Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press