By: Jamie Samuelsen
So Ndamukong Suh is going swimming with Katherine Webb.
Or more to the point, the Lions Pro Bowl defensive tackle is taking part in an ABC show called “Celebrity Diving”. The show sounds hideous. “Dancing with the Stars” is bad enough. “Skating with Celebrities” was worse. But “Celebrity Diving”? Nobody watches the real diving at the Olympics. What makes you think we’re going to watch C-list celebrities try their hand?
But the show is on, and Suh is on the show.
Some have suggested that this is just another distraction for the Lions’ sometimes-troubled player. Rather than diving into a pool, he should be swimming in the pool and doing everything possible to make 2013 even better than 2012. TMZ even quoted a “BUNCH of Lions players” (their words, not mine) who said that they had a problem with Suh taking part in the show. I don’t know for sure, but I think TMZ’s definition of BUNCH might differ with ours. My guess is that they talked to a football player who may or may not play for a team called the Lions, which may or may not be the actual NFL Lions. Who knows? Maybe they talked to an actual Lion. But I sincerely doubt they talked to multiple Lions who all had an issue with Suh doing the diving show.
Thankfully, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is on the record over the Suh affair given the fact that he’s coaching at the Senior Bowl. When Schwartz signed on for this particular gig, he probably assumed that he wouldn’t have to answer Suh reality TV questions or Titus Young Twitter questions when he went down to Alabama. But such are the rigors of the job I suppose. Schwartz dismissed any concern that he or the team had about Suh’s latest stunt.
“I think we’re probably pretty safe to say there’s not a high rate of injury on celebrity diving,” Schwartz said yesterday. And I think it’s probably pretty safe to say that he’s right.
This is a Suh issue. Controversy seems to follow him everywhere even when there’s actually no controversy, like right now. This is a minor gambit where he jumps in the pool a few times and flashes his smile for the cameras. This will have no effect on his 2013 season. And this will do nothing to take him away from his off-field preparations. Suh has done plenty on and off the field to draw the ire of fans. But just because he chooses to do a few cannonballs on ABC, this is nothing to worry about.
The Lions 2012 season was a disappointment on every level. Calvin Johnson had a career year. But other than that, most every player on the roster can find areas to improve. (Even Calvin had some surprising and inexcusable drops.) After Calvin though, you would have to say that Suh had the best year of anyone. He’s on his way back to the Pro Bowl as an alternate. He was a defensive force down the stretch after having some quiet games midway through the season. In short, he was much closer to being the 2010 Suh than he was to being the 2011 Suh.
If you are down on Suh, fine. But let it be because he’s not the sack machine he was as a rookie or because he’s not the greatest driver in the world. But don’t worry about his choice to be on a reality show in the off-season. The Lions have four or five sure thing players on this roster – and Suh is one of them. Worry more about the secondary or the offensive line or the pass rush. Those are much, much larger areas of concern than how Suh does in the pool.