Ndamukong Suh must learn from latest fine

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
4:31
PM ET

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Ndamukong Suh can add to his growing total of fines, and that statement alone should concern the Detroit Lions.

This is Suh’s fourth season in the league. He has been fined four times for roughing quarterbacks. Suspended two games for stomping on Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. And each time, other than the suspension that cost Suh game checks, the fines have escalated.

The problem isn’t that he plays hard or violently. Football is a rough game. Hits and personal fouls are going to happen. But the NFL is clearly concerned about player safety here when it comes to Suh. Hence one of the largest fines in league history for his latest personal foul, a low block on Minnesota center John Sullivan.

When you have more fines and suspensions than years in the league, it's a precedent and a pattern -- one he should want to correct.

He hits six figures with this latest fine -- the $100,000 he’ll lose being more than what many of the fans who watch him play each Sunday will earn in a year.

Perhaps the $100,000 Suh will lose will lead him to be smarter when it comes to some of the decisions he makes on the field.

Suh said a week ago he wanted to be a captain, an honor given to him by his Detroit teammates in an announcement a few days later. Now he has to show he can lead the team after this latest on-field incident.

He took steps, apologizing to the rest of the Lions in a team meeting. Running back Joique Bell said Suh also apologized personally to linebacker DeAndre Levy, who lost an interception return for a touchdown because of the penalty, in front of the entire team.

He also apologized to Sullivan, which is another step.

But he has to be more than just remorseful to his teammates and those he committed the penalties against. He has placed himself in a position where he will be scrutinized by the league for any action he takes. He told his teammates he understood that.

If he makes a mistake, he’ll likely continue to pay more than similarly penalized players because of his history. And if he meant what he said to his teammates Tuesday, in an apology Bell called "sincere," he’ll realize another play like this could cost his team more than a touchdown.

It could cost the Lions his presence in a game.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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