Caldwell isn't blindsided by Suh's absence

Posted Apr 10, 2014

Head coach Jim Caldwell wants DT Ndamukong Suh in Allen Park for voluntary workouts, but he isn't blindsided by his absence.

The big storyline that's emerged from this week's start of the Lions offseason training program has been the absence of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

Suh's absence has caused a stir on sports talk radio shows and rubbed some fans the wrong way. Some people feel he should be in Allen Park for the voluntary workouts because he's a team captain and the Lions are transitioning into a new coaching staff.

Ndamukong SuhDT Ndamukong Suh (Photo: Gavin Smith)

It should be noted, however, that Suh hasn't participated much in previous voluntary workouts, choosing instead to stick with the regimen that's made him a Pro Bowl player three times over.

While fans might have been surprised by Suh's absence, the Lions certainly weren't.

"It certainly didn't blindside me," head coach Jim Caldwell told media members today. "He and I have probably had more discussions than any player on the team. He was here actually a couple days when I came to visit. We kind of knew exactly what was going on."

While Caldwell might have known Suh didn't plan on attending, it doesn't mean he doesn't still want him here.

"From a coaching standpoint it's just like anything else, my business is to get us into a position to win and win consistently, so we want every single minute of every single hour with every single player," Caldwell said. "That's the way we want it. The rules don't always lend to that type of attitude, but nevertheless, that's the way it is. We're working. We have a great group that is here. They are focused and we're making progress."

As for Suh's teammates, they'd no doubt like to see him on the practice field and in the meeting room, but they aren't holding it against him that he isn't here. They know he'll be in shape and ready to play whenever he does arrive.

"Ndamukong's a hard-working guy," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "Wherever he is and whatever he's doing, I'm sure he's doing the right things, not only for himself, but for our team.

"He's a guy that has trainers that he likes to work with and he's done it some times in the past, and we understand it. The one thing that we know is when he shows up, he's going to be in great shape. He's going to be playing great football and we'll be happy to have him."

James Ihedigbo, a veteran player taking part in the program despite having a newborn baby at home, doesn't think Suh's absence will have an ill-effect on his teammates.

"Suh's never been a guy that is going to come in out of shape or not prepared," Ihedigbo said. "He's a dominant force in this league. He's a dominant force on this team. I'm excited to be able to have him on my defensive line. It's going to make my job a lot easier come the season.

"We have open arms for when he gets back and we know he's going to be ready to go."