By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, who revealed little about the team’s plans for the draft in his press conference Monday, did set to rest talk that the Lions have considered trading star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
“We’re not looking to trade him,” Mayhew said, addressing the matter before he took any questions. “We have no plans to trade him. I haven’t had any conversation with anybody about trading him – except in January I did get a call from a team who had an interest, offered me a box of old tube socks, and I said, ‘No thank you.’ Other than that, there’ve been no conversations, there’s been no gauging the interest level, there’s been none of that that’s happened that’s been authorized by me, so I don’t know where that came from.
“That’s not on the table,” Mayhew continued. “There are a lot of scenarios you can create where that might make sense to try to do something with him, and you can think through all that stuff. The bottom line is winning football games. We’re here to win football games, and that’s a guy that helps us do that, so I’m planning on Ndamukong being with us.”
Mayhew also gave an update, when prompted, on the contract negotiations with Suh, who has yet to attend offseason workouts at Allen Park with the rest of the team. While Suh has trained elsewhere in the past, Suh’s absence has come under fire this year because he was elected a team captain last season and because the Lions are under the leadership of a new head coach, Jim Caldwell, who has made it clear he would have liked for Suh to be with the team.
In the last year of his rookie contract, Suh’s cap hit this season is $22.4 million, second-highest in the NFL. The Lions have been vocal about wanting to do an extension with the three-time Pro Bowl selection. Negotiations were delayed somewhat when Suh fired his original agent and signed a new one during the offseason.
“We’re in negotiations,” Mayhew said. “I don’t think it really benefits to gauge where you are, are you close, are you far, and all that. I’ve done this for a while now. You can say you’re close; you’re not close until everybody signs it. You can say you’re not going to get it done; you’re not going to [not] get it done until the time passes for you to get it done. We’re in ongoing negotiations, and we don’t do that through the media. It’s a dialogue between [team president] Tom Lewand and [Suh’s] agent Jimmy Sexton, and we’re moving forward with that.”
As far as Suh not being at Allen Park, Mayhew expressed a sentiment that appeared to echo those of Suh’s teammates, most recently Dominic Raiola and Stephen Tulloch, who have said it would be great if Suh were in Detroit but that no one can force Suh to attend.
“I don’t like to take the company line, but the reality is it’s voluntary,” Mayhew said. “The league office has been very clear about the fact that no general manager, front office executive or coach is to imply that it’s not voluntary, and I’m not going to imply that it is or isn’t voluntary. I can tell you this: the routine that he’s on right now – he’ll be here hopefully sometime in mid-May – is a routine he’s been on for the last three seasons, and he’s performed pretty well the last three seasons, so it doesn’t shock me that he’s not here, and I’ll leave it at that.”