Former Bears GM critical of Suh's absence

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
11:17
AM ET
Whether it's about Jay Cutler or the expected fall of some of the top quarterbacks in this year's NFL draft, former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo continues to express strong opinions regarding several subjects around the league; the latest being Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

Suh
On April 22, Angelo made his thoughts known -- pretty scathingly -- on Twitter about Suh, who hasn't attended the start of the club's voluntary offseason workouts.

Angelo, who served as general manager of the Bears from 2001-11, wrote: "As a GM, what Ndamukong Suh is choosing to do by not showing for the team's offseason program [because] he wants a new contract is one of the worst things a player can do. I had a rule with players and their agents: Unless a player was at the facility and working -- just like everyone else -- we would not engage or continue to negotiate a deal. It was that simple."

What's interesting is that as a GM, Angelo came close in 2011 to facing a similar situation with running back Matt Forte, as negotiations throughout that season on a long-term contract proved fruitless. The Bears fired Angelo in January 2012, and current general manager Phil Emery took over the negotiations.

That offseason, Forte skipped the offseason program, but the sides continued to negotiate until he agreed to a long-term deal just hours before the July 16 deadline.

Apparently, Angelo prefers a different approach, and made that clear in writing about Suh.

"Everyone has to honor their contract," Angelo wrote. "We collectively negotiated it and all agreed to its terms and conditions. No one gets to change the rules once that's done. That's why they use the term ‘good faith.' Eventually, Suh will get paid and paid very well."

Perhaps that's true. But right now, Angelo believes Suh is taking a selfish approach as the Lions begin work under new coach Jim Caldwell, who needs to set the tone as the team's new leader. In deriding Suh, Angelo seemed to take a shot at Detroit's defense, too.

"When players get caught up into themselves, they forget the big picture: the team and winning," Angelo wrote. "The Lions haven't done enough on defense for any player like Suh to feel he deserves to be treated special. The question is, for what? Grant you, he is a top player at his position, but the Lions defense is no more feared than most defenses around the league. Suh doesn't take over a game like a Lawrence Taylor, Reggie White or Warren Sapp. Suh has that mistaken identity that he is more important than he really is. He will get paid like an elite player, but the Lions defense is far from elite. Yes, you pay players based on performance, but somewhere in the equation the team's performance -- and in Suh's case, the defense -- fits in there somewhere. Winning makes it a lot easier to justify paying players handsomely."

Then, Angelo finishes his Twitter rant about Suh with a kicker.

"Suh is in that long line of people who love the book 'What About ME'!!!"

Jerry Angelo, please tell us again: How do you really feel?

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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