O'HARA: Ndamukong Suh built for endurance

Posted Nov 5, 2014

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh’s self-assessment of his physical endurance and mental approach to football is more a case of stating the obvious than bragging or self-promotion.

Ndamukong Suh’s self-assessment of his physical endurance and mental approach to football is more a case of stating the obvious than bragging or self-promotion.

Suh is refreshed – as if he needed to be -- from the Lions’ bye week and ready to start the second half of the season for what the Lions hope will be an extended, and successful, run at the NFC North title. The second half of the season begins Sunday against the Dolphins at Ford Field.

Ndamukong SuhDT Ndamukong Suh (Photo: Detroit Lions)

Even without the break, which Suh used to return home to Portland and visit family and friends, the All-Pro defensive tackle has shown no visible signs of wear and tear from the first eight games.

In the last game before the break, Suh played 22 of 24 snaps in the second half as the Lions rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat the Falcons, 22-21, in London.

For Suh, it was no sweat.

“I’m built that way,” Suh said before practice Wednesday. “I’m built to endure long drives – endure, to just go out there and play whatever snaps I need to play.

“I think I’ve, over the years, proven that I can maintain and take care of myself, so I can play whatever game, whatever consequences and things come our way.”

A week ago, head coach Jim Caldwell was asked if Suh is indestructible. The coach knocked the wooden lectern before answering.

Suh never misses practices or games because of injury. The pounding he gets from constant double teams doesn’t seem to make a dent in him.

Suh would not claim to be indestructible when asked about it Wednesday.

“I’m not Megatron,” he said with a slight smile, using the nickname given to teammate Calvin Johnson.

“Nobody’s indestructible. I pride myself on my offseason workouts – things I do to maintain for all 16 games and plus.

“I may not show it to you, but everything hurts. Things happen. I think mentally, I’m just a different cat.”

Caldwell did not disagree when asked about Suh’s comments about his endurance or being “a different cat.”

“If he says it, it’s a fact,” Caldwell said, laughing.

“There’s no question that he’s a guy that understands what it takes to perform well at this spot. He’s a Pro Bowl player. He’s been outstanding for us. I think you look at him, the way he prepares, you can anticipate that week after week we’re going to get the same kind of effort, the same kind of production from him.”

Guard Rob Sims admires how Suh does not comprise his desire to perform at his peak at all times.

“He’s a guy I respect because he’s about his business, and that’s all he’s about sometimes,” Sims said. “People always say he’s different. And they’re right. He is different. He sees through a lot of the BS in this game.

“I’ve seen him play some minutes, have to go through some double-teams. He’s always in unbelievable shape.”

In describing his mental focus, Suh referred to a comment made a few years ago about tight end Tony Gonzalez, one of the greats, made in projecting how long he could continue to play. Gonzalez retired after last season, his 17th in the NFL.

“He said he physically can play this game as long he wants to” Suh said. “It’s whether mentally he wants to do it. That’s how I look at myself. We’re all in this profession because we’re physically gifted. What takes us over the edge is our mental preparation.

“It comes down to mental toughness and being able to compartmentalize things, if you let things drag from outside your life into the game, it’s going to probably be tough to be successful.

“I would say the majority of guys in the league look at football and look at this game and this opportunity to just kind of be free and go out there and take care of business and be able to remove themselves from their lives and whatever they’re dealing with and have fun.”

Fun, for Suh and the Lions, is re-starting the season at home against the Dolphins on Sunday.

“Now we’ve got a grind of eight games,” Suh said. “And take care of business.”