By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Ndamukong Suh is a storyline again, and as usual, it has nothing to do with his play on the field.
A free agent following the 2014 season, Suh would undoubtedly command a pretty penny on the open market. He has said he wants to stay in Detroit, and the Lions have said they want Suh to stay, too. For now, though, the team has given no indication of when they expect a deal to happen with Suh, who is widely acknowledged as the best defensive tackle in the NFL.
First-round draft pick Eric Ebron also has yet to agree to terms with the Lions.
Head coach Jim Caldwell indicated he will not be concerning himself with contract situations.
“The way in which this game is, every year’s going to be a little bit different,” Caldwell said. “He’s not the first guy that’s gone through a contract negotiation, and he won’t be the last. I think those things, Martin [Mayhew] and Tom [Lewand] and those guys and ownership will do a tremendous job. What I have to do is stay focused on what’s happening out there on the field and get our guys ready to play.”
Ever the polarizing figure, Suh made headlines throughout the offseason for a whole host of reasons. He fired his agent and took an extended period of time to hire another, thus creating a time frame in which the Lions had to pause contract talks with him. Then Suh declined to participate with the rest of the team in the majority of voluntary workouts in Allen Park.
The one time Suh has talked with media all offseason, he stirred the pot by telling reporters he could have chosen where he went when he was drafted out of college, an odd comment because, well, the draft does not work that way. Most recently, Suh – who said he did not work out with the Lions because he did not want to deviate from the offseason routine he has had for years – worked out with former Michigan strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis for an episode of the reality show “American Muscle.”
Throughout OTAs, during which one practice per week was open to media, he avoided multiple requests for interviews. He did the same each day of mandatory minicamp this week, during which all three practices were open to media. Suh made sure to run right past reporters who had gathered to talk with players as they left the field following practice.
How much the Lions would have to spend to keep Suh is unknown, but a contract with him will surely leave the team’s pocketbook significantly lighter. Caldwell, while not thinking about what the team might spend to keep Suh, did mention an impending large expenditure of his own – the wedding of his only daughter Natalie, the youngest of his four children.
“I’ve got some things to deal with because I gave them an unlimited budget, and they went over that,” Caldwell joked. “I got a few issues to deal with along the way.
“The serious part of it, I’m looking forward to,” Caldwell added. “She gets married Sunday, so that’ll be a lot of fun.”