Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Ndamukong Suh practices with Lions
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Ndamukong Suh is back with the Detroit Lions. And he's not interested in rehashing the past.
Suh declined to answer questions Wednesday about his two-game suspension and car accident after rejoining his teammates for the first time in two-plus weeks.
"The most important thing right now is this football team and not me individually," Suh said.
The reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year was forced by the NFL to sit out two games without pay for stepping on the right arm of Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith during a loss on Thanksgiving Day.
He was defiant during his postgame news conference that day and after the Lions criticized his conduct the next day, Suh followed up on his Facebook page with an apology to his teammates, organization and fans. Why he hasn't -- at least publicly -- said sorry to Dietrich-Smith was one of the questions Suh left unanswered.
Suh said he wouldn't change his game after his fourth fine from the league earlier this year. On Wednesday, he said nothing has altered that mind-set.
"I think I can pretty much stick with that, playing within the rules and continuing to play between the whistles," Suh said.
Suh was banned from Lions headquarters during his suspension. He returned to his hometown of Portland, Ore., and was in a car accident on his first weekend away from the team. Police decided not to investigate further after two women claimed they were injured during the wreck.
He wouldn't respond to questions about the crash. Suh seemed aware that unflattering things have been written and said about him, but doesn't look or sound concerned.
"It's not going to make me cry at night," he said.
Of more interest to Suh and the rest of the Lions is the team's quest to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season. The team lost at New Orleans and barely beat Minnesota at home without Suh.
Detroit (8-5) plays at Oakland (7-6) this weekend in a game it needs to win to keep its favorable spot in the NFC wild-card race.
Even though Suh has been on his own since the suspension, Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said he looked about the same as he did before being forced to stay out of the building.
"He's obviously healthy," Schwartz said. "And we need all the healthy players we can get, particularly for this last stretch."
Suh didn't think anything was out of the ordinary about his first workout with teammates in a while.
"Practice to me was normal," he said. "I wasn't out of breath."
He saved some breath in a calm, but terse, session with reporters following practice. Suh acknowledged needing to be accountable for his actions, but said answering every question from the media was not one of his responsibilities.
"It doesn't always involve you guys," he said. "It's been handled. You guys make your speculations and then you report what you think is right and not right."
Lions DT Nick Fairley went through at least part of Wednesday's practice while banged-up players CB Eric Wright, S Louis Delmas, CB Aaron Berry, LB Justin Durant and DE Lawrence Jackson were held out because of injuries while reporters had access. ... Starting CB Chris Houston, who has missed two games with an injured left knee, practiced and said he expects to play at Oakland. RB Kevin Smith was on the field and was optimistic about playing Sunday after missing the Vikings game.