Suh’s Antics Hide Lower Results

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - November 30, 2011
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Ndamukong Suh before he was ejected last Thursday. AP photo

I’ve been saying Ndamukong Suh isn’t a dirty player, that he’s one of those rare breeds who possess a level of rage that sometimes kills drives, but also makes for legends that NFL Films is quick to promote. Watching Suh stomp on Packer guard Evan Dietrich-Smith during the Lions’ traditional Thanksgiving Day loss did nothing to change that opinion. The former Cornhusker isn’t a dirty player he’s a petulant child, unable to handle disappointment or take responsibility for his actions.

Suh, with pumpkin pie crumbs on his shirt and a drumstick in his hand, is trying to convince everyone he wasn’t snacking before the guests arrived. He was just helping to arrange the table so everyone would be more comfortable, got dirty in the process and apologized for putting himself in a position to be misinterpreted.

“What I did was remove myself from the situation in the best way I felt, me being held down in the situation I was in. And further, my intentions were not to kick anybody, as I did not, removing myself as you see,” he told reporters in a rambling set of excuses after the game.


If you missed the game or one of the thousands of replays, after being pancaked by Dietrich-Smith, Suh proceeded to push the lineman’s head into the turf three or four times before Packer guard T.J. Lang arrived to help his teammate. Suh responded by turning his back to his victim before stomping on his arm.

After the game Suh, still unwilling to accept any blame said, “I have no intention to hurt somebody. If I want to hurt him, I’m going to hit his quarterback, as I did throughout that game.”

This was a telling statement since Aaron Rogers remained nearly untouched for most of the game in which Suh had a grand total of one tackle.

Perhaps that is part of the trouble. Suh has been a shell of his former self, and he’s having a hard time not being the center of attention. So he’s decided to throw a tantrum now and then just to make sure everyone is watching.


A year ago Suh was Defensive Rookie of the Year, made the Pro Bowl and had Lions fans looking for a sculptor to begin the work on his Hall of Fame bust. What a difference a year makes. Suh hasn’t hit the quarterback for a loss since Oct. 23, and has only 22 tackles and three sacks for the season. The guy who caused havoc a year ago is now just a mild annoyance that is, when he isn’t stomping on opponents or keeping opponents’ drives with penalties. Such bad behavior was easy for coaches and teammates to defend when he was getting the job done, but when you’re not performing and start becoming more of a hindrance than a help, that support erodes quickly.

By the time you read this you’ll likely know the severity of Suh’s punishment. Anything less than two games will be a joke, especially coming just weeks after Suh had a meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about what is acceptable on-field behavior. Perhaps he can use the downtime wisely. Instead of logging more highway miles in his 300, he’d be better off trying to figure out how he went from being a superhero in Lincoln to an uber villain in Detroit.

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