Thursday, September 26, 2013
Bears give Ndamukong Suh silent treatment
By Doug Padilla
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears are making sure that their preparation for the Detroit Lions on Sunday does not include engaging Ndamukong Suh in a war of words.
The Lions’ defensive tackle definitely has the Bears’ attention heading into the first of two division matchups this season. It’s just that nobody feels the need to stoke his ire this far in advance of game time.
“I like him,” Bears tight in Martellus Bennett said Thursday. “I met him a couple of times in person and he’s a nice guy. He’s interesting. I don’t think about him often. I’ll think about him this week when I have to play against him.”
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has the biggest beef with Suh after a few eye-opening confrontations in recent years, but even he was keeping the talk to a minimum.
“I never talked to the guy besides a few choice words on the field,” said Cutler, who was shoved by Suh in the upper back during a 2010 game, had his helmet ripped off by Suh in a 2011 game and was slammed to the turf by him last season causing a rib injury. “Other than that, I don’t know him. I don’t talk to him.”
Taking things even further when it came to being noncontroversial, was Bears rookie offensive lineman Kyle Long, who has simply decided to say nothing for the rest of the week. Long, who declined interview requests Thursday, has the task of blocking Suh on Sunday in just his fourth NFL game and second ever on the road.
Suh, on the other hand, told reporters in Detroit on Wednesday that he is looking forward to the matchup against the player many perceived was drafted by the Bears specifically with the Lions’ defensive tackle in mind.
“We’ll see how well he is prepared to block me when we play on Sunday,” Suh said. “That’s their opinion, that’s their choice, that’s their draft. That’s not anything of my concern. I just look forward to digest whoever I have in front me.”
Long did have at least a little to say on the subject earlier this week when he appeared on ESPN 1000’s weekly “Football Night in Chicago” show on Monday. And just like his teammates, the comments were more complimentary than confrontational.
“Suh is just relentless,” Long said at the time. “He is a relentless football player. He is somebody that is just going to always keep coming and give you his best. He's got that kind of presence where you're like, ‘I can't take a play off.' If you do, he will expose you.”
Besides the Cutler hits, there are plenty of others over the years that have earned Suh his “dirty player” tag. The most recent came earlier this season when he was fined $100,000 for a low block during a Week 1 game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Bennett, who is known to give his opinion on a myriad of subjects, gave pause when he was asked if Suh was a dirty player.
“Hopefully he takes baths,” Bennett said. “I don’t think he’s dirty as a player. You can say anybody is a dirty player if somebody does something you don’t like one time in a game. I don’t think he’s dirty. I think he plays hard and plays with a lot of passion.”
Asked his opinion, Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer was only slightly less quiet about Suh than Long.
“Suh is a very physical, athletic, talented defensive tackle,” Kromer said.