Twentyman: Suh's reputation and past history might have played a factor in $30,000 fine from NFL

Posted Nov 28, 2012

Ndamukong Suh stood in front of reporters for a little over six minutes Wednesday answering a wide range of questions from the Thanksgiving Day kick to Texans quarterback Matt Schaub that's incurred a $30,000 fine from the NFL to his latest traffic incident and his overall reputation with the media.

It was probably the best media sessions he's done in over a year.

There's one thing he said during those six minutes that rang especially true, though.

"I think I'm going to always be punished in some form or fashion for last Thanksgiving," he said. "I apologized for it and I'm going to continue to apologize for it. It's something that happened, a mistake that I made. I'm going to continue to move past it. Some people may not. Some people will."

Suh didn't apologize for it right after it happened last year, and that still rubs people the wrong the way.

He wasn't apologizing for the latest incident, though, calling it "a crazy play" and that it was "inadvertent."

The NFL said last week that it would take past history into account for any penalties that come down on Suh for the latest incident with Schaub. The league couldn't prove "intent" but still fined Suh.

I'm not sure how that makes a lot of sense, but I shouldn't be surprised given his reputation.

Reputation plays a factor with Suh. He has a bad one, and it's the hardest to shake.

"Some people will teeter-totter back and forth between (his past incidents) depending on whatever the situation is or whatever may happen as we had this last incident on Thanksgiving," Suh said  "I'm just going to continue to play and try and help my team win."

Would Thursday's incident have been as big of a deal if Suh hadn't stomped on Packers Guard Evan Dietrich-Smith last Thanksgiving? Suh was suspended two games for that incident.

Would his latest speeding ticket in Lathrup Village have been more than a notebook item on police blotter if he hadn't wrecked his car in Portland last year or been involved in a very public fender-bender in Dearborn weeks ago?

Suh has a reputation -- both on and off the field -- and now the microscope is on him. It's actually been on him for over a year now.

In a conference call with Detroit reporters today, Colts interm head coach Bruce Arians said Suh "plays football the way the game's supposed to be played."

He doesn't seem to buy into the whole "dirty player" rap that Suh has been branded.

Arians also isn't buying the fact that Suh isn't the same player he was as a rookie when he recorded 10 sacks and 66 tackles.

"Oh, there's no doubt he's disruptive," Arians said. "I mean, just because a guy doesn't put up numbers, statisticians don't play football.

"Dwight Freeney, his numbers are down. Everybody's saying it's time to get rid of him. Crap, he's all over the place being disruptive and getting sacks for other guys. Suh's the same way. I mean, he's tearing up the middle of the pocket and I love the way the guy plays football. He's truly a football player and I like the kid."

Suh was asked to evaluate his own play during his media session on Thursday.

"I think defensive tackle play can be looked at many different ways," Suh said. "You look at a guy like Justin Smith. Everybody sees him as a pretty good dominant defensive tackle and his sacks are down. I believe he's only at two or something.

"But he has a huge effect and the guy that feels his effect, and I'm sure he would say that, is Aldon Smith. He's at 16.5 or something like that, so as a defensive tackle he's making a big impact, but he's numbers won't always show it.

"I feel at this particular point in the stage of my career from my rookie year everybody expected and saw that great (season) that I had and that happened because nobody kind of expected me to do that and I believe that.

"Second year, people kind of picked up on how I play. This year, it's a mix of that because I have an effect on games, but it's not always statistically shown. (I) continue to grow and continue to be the best person I can be and continue playing hard and help my team win."

Reputation aside, that's really the most important thing. Can Suh help the Lions win? He's a rare defensive talent and those kind of players don't come around too often. As long as his actions both on and off the field aren't affecting his play on the field (i.e. penalties or suspensions), then it's just noise.