Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is expected to be suspended at least two games for shoving Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith's head, stomping on him and then not owning up to it in his post-game comments, league sources told ESPN.
The NFL has not determined exactly how long Suh will be suspended, but league officials believe two games will be the minimum. Sources say the league also could require Suh attend anger management courses.
The Lions are expected to issue the maximum $25,000 fine allowable under the new CBA for a player being ejected from a game. Team president Tom Lewand has been in communication with league officials. If Suh is suspended, the Lions also would have to pay a $50,000 fine because team members will have been fined more than $100,000.
The NFL once suspended former Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth five games for stomping on the head of then-Cowboys center Andre Gurode, but the feeling around the league is that Suh's most recent act, which resulted in him being ejected from Thursday's Thanksgiving game against the Packers, was not as egregious.
The league likely is to meet again Monday before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell comes to a final ruling by Tuesday. But with Suh having been fined at least three times for a total of $42,500 since the beginning of last year, and with fines not working as a deterrent, a suspension is the next step.
Suh makes $82,000 per game. If he's suspended two games, he would lose $164,000 in salary.
"My reaction on Thursday was unacceptable," the star defensive tackle said in a statement on his Facebook page Friday night. "I made a mistake, and have learned from it. I hope to direct the focus back to the task at hand -- by winning."
The statement appeared on Suh's page around the same time he was publically chastised by the Lions, one night after being ejected Thursday in a loss to Green Bay for stomping at an opposing player.
"The on-field conduct exhibited by Ndamukong Suh that led to his ejection from yesterday's game was unacceptable and failed to meet the high level of sportsmanship we expect from our players," the team said. "Ndamukong has made many positive contributions to the Lions on and off the field. We expect his behavior going forward to consistently reflect that high standard of professionalism."
If Suh is suspended early next week, he would have a chance to keep playing pending any appeal -- but that appeals process can be expedited. Detroit plays at New Orleans on Dec. 4.
The NFL moved the game to prime time, a reflection of the buzz surrounding the improved Lions this season. Led by young stars Suh, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, Detroit won its first five games, but the Lions have since lost four of six.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.