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Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Have at it: Perception and reality of Suh

By Kevin Seifert

Enough. No more talking in platitudes. No more general complaints based on reputation. And let's stop with the complaints about reputation. I'm tired of hearing people, whether they are in the media or otherwise, claim Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is a dirty player as a matter of course.

I want specifics.

I want rule citations.

I want context.

Ndamukong Suh
Ndamukong Suh was fined $7,500 for this hit on Jake Delhomme.
Several Atlanta Falcons players are the latest to make this charge, claiming Suh spoke disrespectfully toward injured quarterback Matt Ryan last Sunday at Ford Field. Suh has denied saying anything. Nevertheless, the episode has spawned another round of media/fan debates on whether, or the extent to which, Suh plays dirty.

In Tuesday's SportsNation chat, Dave of Phoenix suggested Suh "has brought all of this on himself" and "has made his reputation with his actions."

I'm not sure I agree. During the chat, my top-of-the-head response was recalling only one instance in Suh's career that I thought was dirty. And I define "dirty" as a blatant attempt outside the rules to injure an opponent.

That instance came in the 2010 preseason, a play that to me is largely responsible for this ongoing discussion. As you can see in this NFL.com video, Suh grabbed the face mask/helmet of Cleveland Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme and spun him violently and awkwardly to the ground. The NFL fined Suh $7,500 for the play. How Delhomme escaped injury on that play, I'll never know.

Beyond that, however, I'm not sure I could come up with enough examples to support a debate. Some of you might cite the 2010 regular-season game when Suh tackled Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber by his hair. Officials called him for a horse-collar tackle, a bad call based on NFL rules that consider the hair an extension of the body. (NFL.com video here.)

Others might note his unnecessary roughness penalty on Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the 2011 preseason. (NFL.com video here.) The NFL fined him $20,000 for that play. I thought it was a violent hit and probably in violation of NFL rules. But dirty? Was he blatantly attempting to injure? Not to me.

There are two sides to every issue, of course. And that's where "Have at It" comes in. If you believe Suh is in fact a dirty player, I want examples in the comments section below. Links to video would help. Build your case instead of just making a general observation. As always, I'll publish a representative sample of your thoughts, along with my own take, by the end of the week. Have at It.