By Ashley Dunkak
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh avoided suspension after receiving a penalty for a low block this week but has been handed a fine of $100,000, one of the largest fines ever issued by the NFL for an on-field incident.
Suh has been fined $100k by the NFL
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 10, 2013
The infraction occurred in the Lions’ first game, two days after the team announced that Suh had been voted a captain.
Suh has a long history of dirty plays. He was fined $7,500 as a rookie for roughing Cleveland quarterback Jake Delhomme, and more recent debacles have included him stomping on Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith in 2010 and kicking Houston’s Matt Schaub in the groin in 2011 – both in Thanksgiving Day games.
Schwartz said earlier in the week that he did not think Suh intended to make an illegal block Sunday.
“It was behind the play,” Schwartz said. “It wasn’t very far behind the play, but it was behind the play. It was an offensive lineman. He wasn’t going to catch Levy. What [Suh] explained to me was he didn’t want to hit him high because if he hits him in the head right there, that’s a peel-back, and that’s a penalty, and he was trying to hit him at the waist and ended up in a bad spot and went low.”
“I don’t think there was any attempt to injure or things like that,” Schwartz added. “It wasn’t 40 yards behind the play, it wasn’t hitting the guy from behind or some of the things that we’ve seen from other players recently going low and hitting guys from behind. In my mind the biggest thing was taking some momentum away from us at that point and also taking that score off the board because that certainly would have gone a long way toward getting us out of the hole we were in early in the game.”
Although Suh has a reputation for being a dirty player, including action that got him fined by the NFL in the last two Thanksgiving games, Suh said after the game Sunday that he was not trying to make an illegal hit.
“You can’t obviously go low on guys, and I wasn’t going low,” Suh said. “I was looking to hit him in his hip, in his thigh just so he doesn’t get ahold of Levy when he’s running back, and obviously it was perceived as going low. It’s something that I’ve got to take and learn from. I had a great conversation with John Sullivan, and he knows my intentions were good, and that’s really all that matters.”
Minnesota’s Jared Allen, a five-time Pro Bowler and a player known as one of the best at his position, was unhappy with the play. While Allen said he has met Suh, considers him a “decent dude” and likes his style of play, Allen was not about to issue a pardon for the hit.
“There’s just no room for that,” Allen said. “You end a guy’s career like that. That’s just uncalled for.
“This is a fraternity, wherever we’re at,” Allen added. “NFL, you try to take care of guys. And granted, things happen. Guys are going to make hits, some things are going to be borderline, and if it’s in the heat of trying to make a play, you look the other way. But you can’t take a dude’s legs out from behind on a interception when he’s running down the field.”