Honestly, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh got off easy in my opinion. With Suh’s reputation, just a two game suspension for intentionally stomping on an opposing player is less than I expected.
Five days after Suh stomped on Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith, the NFL announced yesterday that Suh will be suspended for the Lions’ next two games. This makes Suh only the third player in NFL history to be suspended more than one game because of an on-field incident.
Suh has appealed the suspension, and the NFL plans to expedite the hearing and make a decision before the Lions travel to New Orleans for this week’s Sunday night game.
Obviously, this is not Suh’s first offense in terms of dirty play. He has been fined three times before by the league, received seven personal fouls, and has now been suspended two games. The two game suspension is without pay, costing Suh just over $160,000 and bringing his career fine total over $200,000.
Despite Suh being absent, the Lions still have games to play. Their first game without Suh is a huge one: a road game against the 8-3 Saints. Suh will definitely be missed in this one, as pressuring quarterback Drew Brees is the only way to beat him. Brees is having an MVP season, and leads the NFL in passing yards on a pace that will shatter Dan Marino’s season passing record. Without Suh, the Lions chances of an upset grow even slimmer.
The second game Suh will miss is a home game against the Minnesota Vikings, a game that the Lions should be able to handle with or without Ndamukong in the lineup.
Defensive tackles Corey Williams, Nick Fairley, Andre Fluellen, and Sammie Hill will now have to step up for the Lions in Suh’s absence.
What needs to come out of this whole mess is a new attitude for Ndamukong Suh. He is a star defensive lineman and is an intimidating figure that the Lions cannot afford to have suspended like this. If Suh doesn’t clean up his act, the Lions need to do something. The team simply cannot be surrounded by such negative press and expect to sustain success.
I don’t mind the edgy play or the trash talk a bit. I want Ndamukong Suh on my team, no questions asked. But when he took his foot and about put it through Evan Dietrich-Smith’s arm, I was astounded. That crossed the line to me, whether it was provoked or not. There is trash-talking and late hits in every single NFL game, but stomping on a players arm is not an appropriate response to those things. The fact that he then denied the incident saying he “was regaining his balance” irked me even more. Plain and simple, Suh needs to grow up and start respecting both his teammates and opposing players.
What is done is done, and Suh will be out the Lions’ next two games, but Lions fans shouldn’t look back, but rather forward to the Lions next game against the Saints. This game is a huge opportunity for Detroit to make a statement as a contender, as well as an opportunity for one Lion to make a statement to everyone.
It’s Nick Fairley’s time to shine.