By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell knew that star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh would not be attending this week’s voluntary workouts, the period in which team members get back in the facility for voluntary workouts and meetings in which the new coaching staff begins to install the playbook.
Lions players have said it does not matter that Suh, who last year was voted a team captain, does not attend the workouts, though most of the other players show up. Caldwell, if prepared for Suh’s absence, seemed less than thrilled by it.
“It certainly didn’t blindside me,” Caldwell said. “We certainly knew. He and I have had probably more discussions than any player that we’ve had on the team. He’s been in and out. I think he was here actually a couple days when I came in to visit, so we kind of knew exactly what was going on, but from a coaching standpoint, it’s just like anything else.
“My business is to get into a position to win and win consistently, and so we want every single minute of every single hour with every single player,” Caldwell continued. “That’s the way we want it. The rules don’t always lend to that type of attitude, but nevertheless, that’s the way it is. But we’re working. We’ve got a great group, they’re focused, and we’re making progress.”
Caldwell would not go into specifics about the conversations he had with Suh about whether Suh, who is set to be the second-highest paid player in the NFL in 2014 with a $22.4 million cap hit, would be at voluntary workouts.
“I’m not going to draw into all of those ramifications,” Caldwell said. “I told you my feelings on it, what I would like to have done. It’s just kind of the way it is at this point in time.”
It might not have to be that way much longer. Suh, one of the league’s best at the position, will hit free agency after this season if he and the Lions do not agree to an extension first.