We've heard this tale before, but now it's time for the next chapter in the saga of Ndamukong Suh vs. the NFL.
|Photo by: Gregory Shamus
First, some history.
The former Nebraska Cornhusker was fined $100,000 in his first game this season for a block on Minnesota Vikings' offensive lineman John Sullivan. After losing an appeal last week, it officially became the highest fine a player has ever received for on-field conduct in league history. It looked like a clean hit to me, but for a player like Suh, I can't say I was surprised that the book was thrown at him.
It goes without saying that Suh has a reputation that precedes him. It became apparent what kind of player he is as early as his rookie year, during the preseason. In August, 2010, Suh tried to rip off Jake Delhomme's head (or so it seemed at the time) during a meaningless game. He was fined a measly $7,500 for the play.
In only his fourth season, Suh has now racked up a grand total of $342,794 worth of fines, over six separate incidents. He has only been suspended for two games in his career, but I'm sure that number will climb in the coming years.
The vast majority of these questionable hits were laid on quarterbacks, and Suh has been quoted as saying "I don't think I'll ever be able to have a quarterback as a friend." It's probably safe to assume most signal callers in the league won't ever consider the former Husker a friend, either.
So, there it is; your back story. You would think that kind of history would cause a player to exercise extreme caution moving forward, but you would be wrong.
The NFL is now reviewing a play in the Lions/Browns game this past Sunday. Suh led with his helmet when he hit QB Brandon Weeden, shortly after Weeden released the ball. The play didn't result in a penalty, but when shown on a video posted on NFL.com earlier this week, the league decided to review it again. The replay can be seen [here] at the 1:25 mark.
One could argue that Suh just plays with his heart on his sleeve, and I would love to believe that. I'm actually a fan of his, and as a football player, he is truly a specimen to see. As an early candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, it would be a shame to see this affect his chances.
Whether it hurts them or not, one thing is certain; No. 90 needs to find a way to fly under the radar from now on. The question is, if he takes it down a notch, can he still be one of the best at what he does, or is this the only way he can play the game?
Football was once a violent sport. Maybe Ndamukong Suh would have been better Suh-ted for the 70s.
See what I did there?