Monday, September 9, 2013
Ndamukong Suh under scrutiny again
By Michael Rothstein
DETROIT -- The NFL season is less than two weeks old and already Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is going to be a topic of conversation in the NFL league offices for something he did on the field.
Colleague Adam Schefter reported this morning that Suh will face discipline from the league after being penalized for a low block on Minnesota center John Sullivan during a DeAndre Levy interception return for a touchdown. It wiped Levy’s touchdown away and now has left the league questioning Suh again.
There will probably be more attention paid here, too, because this isn’t the first time Suh has come under scrutiny for a questionable play. Not even close. It is the third straight season Suh will be a topic of this particular conversation.
He was fined last season for kicking Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin. In 2011, he was suspended for two weeks after stomping the arm of Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith.
That might be the bigger issue here than what exactly happened between Suh and Sullivan. Levy, the linebacker on his way to a touchdown off an interception, was already well ahead of the play. But the contact also came in the run of play on a block, which is where there could be some questions.
At the time Suh blocked Sullivan, there was no chance of the Minnesota center catching up to Levy on the play. Levy is a faster player -- a linebacker versus an offensive lineman who had microfracture surgery on the left knee Suh came in contact with in the second quarter Sunday.
That leads to the question of why Suh wouldn’t just block Sullivan standing up instead of cutting down low in that particular situation. That said, all of this happened in the fast pace of an interception return.
After the game, Suh told reporters he was aiming for Sullivan’s waist, not his knees. If he mistimed his attempt at a block -- and that is always possible -- it could have been incidental and just unfortunate. Watching it over and over, even in slow motion, it is tough to truly tell what Suh’s intent was.
The problem is Suh’s history. That is potentially where the league could look and why this might not be a one-off conversation for the NFL. It is difficult to give a player the benefit of the doubt when he has created reason to doubt him in the past.