By: Eric Thomas
Suh returned to Allen Park yesterday, and it only took 24 hours before he made headlines with his mouth. He should feel familiar in the fan and media doghouse. He can’t seem to get out of it.
Suh spent his rookie season in the glow of positive stories—an affable young man with God-given talent who looked like the second coming of Reggie White. He was a frequent guest on PTI, collected sponsorship deals and was held out as an example for other young NFL players to follow. Then 2011 happened.
He signed Jay-Z to handle his media relations. He might want to stop by Hova’s office for a meeting.
He’s been falling since the Evan-Dietrich Smith stomp. There were rumbles before, when he was criticized as “dirty” by his fellow players, but since that stomp he hasn’t been able to get out of his own way. He seems incapable of saying or doing the right thing. He was able to avoid negative press last year, as the team imploded and stole the spotlight. Since Jim Caldwell was hired, it’s been a three ring circus starring Ndamukong Suh.
The latest is this: Suh now claims he had a choice to go to other teams when he was drafted. As reported by our own Ashley Dunkak, Suh explained his desire to remain with the Lions by saying he had a chance to get drafted elsewhere.
” I had an opportunity – a lot of you guys don’t know – I could have gone elsewhere when I was drafted,” Suh said. “I had that decision in my hands. I chose not to take it because that’s just the way I saw it. Same thing when I went to Nebraska. I wanted to be a part of something that wasn’t just already set up, where it’s on its way to getting better and I want to be one of the cornerstones of it.”
To be clear, it doesn’t work like that. I guess you could be Eli Manning or John Elway and refuse to play for a team, but that’s rare. He didn’t elaborate on what a lot of us “don’t know,” but he tried to pack it away.
“It is, for sure, my choice,” said Suh. “Like I said, that’s all water under the bridge. I’m here in Detroit. I’m happy to be here in Detroit, and I’m going to continue to play my heart out as I’ve always done and continue to do.”
He refused to comment further, probably very aware of the hole he was digging when the gathered reporters (I’m guessing) smiled.
Suh is a great player, but it seems he doesn’t handle questions well. NFL players have to talk to the media or face a fine. Marshawn Lynch famously doesn’t talk to the press, and maybe Suh might want to adopt the same policy. He doesn’t do well when someone asks a tough question. It’s good to recognize your weaknesses, and this would certainly fall into that category.
Or is it? Was this intentional? Beats me, but he’s embarrassed the Lions again. They seem unable to quell the distractions that center around the fifth-year defensive tackle.
Scratch beneath the surface of his comments: he didn’t answer the question. He stuck his foot in his mouth in search of a dodge. When asked if he wants to be with the Lions, he told us about his draft history.
Hope you’re ready for this, because these questions aren’t going away. He’s avoiding the questions so the questions aren’t going to go away. Even if he pulls a beast mode and avoids the media, this cloud will hang over him, and this drama WILL affect the team.
2014 just keeps looking more and more bleak for the Lions.