NFL: Suh’s stomp
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. ó For the first season-and-a-half of his young career, Ndamukong Suh could almost brush off talk about his penalties and fines, saying he would keep doing what was needed to help his Detroit Lions.
On Thursday, Suh was publicly apologizing to his teammates after he was ejected from a loss to Green Bay.
It could be several days before Suh finds out the true cost of his third-quarter stomp in Detroitís 27-15 loss to the Packers on Thanksgiving. An NFL spokesman said Friday that plays from Week 12 looked at for potential discipline wonít be reviewed until all games are completed.
Detroit coach Jim Schwartz was curt after Thursdayís defeat when asked if he was worried about a possible suspension.
ěIím worried about losing this game,î Schwartz said.
Suh was dismissed after tangling with Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. After being pushed off Dietrich-Smith, Suh stepped down hard with his right foot, appearing to make contact with Dietrich-Smithís right arm.
Suh said he was trying to keep his balance while freeing himself from the brief scuffle. He apologized to teammates, coaches and fans for ěallowing the refs to have an opportunity to take me out of this game,î but he insisted he didnít intentionally step on anyone.
ěPeople are going to have their own opinions ó thatís fine,î he said. ěThe only (people) that I really care about are my teammates, my true fans and my coaches and their opinions, and thatís where it lies. And honestly, the most important person in this whole thing that I have to deal with is the man upstairs.î
In less than two seasons as a pro, Suh has established himself as one of the gameís strongest and most athletic defensive linemen, but heís also received his share of fines.
Suh requested and received a meeting earlier this month with Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his play. He said that dialogue was helpful, but now the league will have to decide whether more discipline is merited after he was ejected on national television.
New York Jets coach Rex Ryan came up with one tongue-in-cheek solution Friday.
ěIíll be honest with you, I think the young man, he should be released … and come to the Jets,î Ryan joked. ěIím just throwing that out there. I donít think heís that good of a player. I donít know about the incident and all that jazz, but weíll take him. Weíll sacrifice that way.î
Ryan then turned a little more serious.
ěI donít even know what to say on it,î Ryan said. ěYouíve seen things like that happen on the field before. Itís an emotional game.î
Jets offensive lineman Matt Slauson, who played with Suh at Nebraska, sounded off on the topic Friday.
ěSomebody needs to get him under control, because heís trying to hurt people,î Slauson told the New York Post. ěItís one thing to be an incredibly physical player and a tenacious player, but itís another thing to set out to end that guyís career.î
Slauson said last year that he and Suh used to mix it up in practice while in college.
ěThere were times we got into fights, during spring ball, during camp, but I kind of fought everyone,î Slauson said then.
In 2006, Albert Haynesworth, then with the Tennessee Titans, was suspended five games after swiping his cleats across the head of helmetless Dallas center Andre Gurode. Suhís stomp wasnít toward Dietrich-Smithís head, and the Green Bay player didnít seem too much worse for wear.
When asked afterward where Suh stepped on him, Dietrich-Smith sounded like he didnít want to stir the pot.
ěI have no idea,î he said. ěI have to watch the tape.î
If Suh is suspended early next week, he would have a chance to keep playing pending any appeal ó but that appeals process can be expedited. Detroit plays at New Orleans on Dec. 4.
The NFL moved that game to prime time, a reflection of the buzz surrounding the improved Lions this season. Led by young stars Suh, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, Detroit won its first five games, but the Lions have since lost four of six.
Defensive backs Louis Delmas, Chris Houston and Brandon McDonald went down with injuries against the Packers, and so did running back Kevin Smith. If the Lions are without Suh for an extended period, it could hurt them in the playoff race.
ěHe plays aggressive. All of us, sometimes, might overreact in certain situations,î Detroit defensive lineman Cliff Avril said. ěWeíve got to play real smart.î
AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak Jr., in Florham Park, N.J., contributed to this story.
The Associated Press