By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – When Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh left the practice field Monday evening, reporters armed with recorders and cameras flocked to inquire about Suh’s reaction to news that the Lions have suspended negotiations of his contract until after the season.
Suh kept walking, shaking his head and smiling slightly as he ignored the media horde and retreated to the practice facility in silence. Later, he appeared on the podium, but though he talked for several minutes, he revealed little about his contract situation.
Suh did confirm, however, that the Lions initiated the stoppage in talks.
“It wasn’t my decision,” Suh said. “I didn’t say that, so until I say that, that’s not my decision. Like I said, I’m not going to talk about my contract. We’re going to continue to talk about football.”
A follow-up question came later in the interview session, but Suh cut off the reporter before he could finish the inquiry.
“Next question, please,” Suh said.
Suh made it clear throughout the short media session — which garnered such attention because of the news about the team suspending negotiations of his contract — that he had no interest in discussing his contract.
“I have no reaction,” Suh said. “I don’t talk about my contract. I’ve said it at the very beginning — I won’t. Just going to keep it that way.”
“Let’s talk about football, please,” Suh added later. “Let’s talk about football. I’ve said it many times that I wanted to be here, so no more questions to answer about that.”
Earlier that day, both team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew had cited the distraction element as part of the reason the team decided to halt talks about Suh’s contract. The announcement came little more than 24 hours after center Dominic Raiola and linebacker Stephen Tulloch had each fielded a slew of questions about Suh, who was not made available Sunday.
“I don’t think it’s fair to guys like Stephen Tulloch and Dominic Raiola, who were talking yesterday, to have to answer questions about their teammate’s contract,” Lewand said. “That’s not what they should be focused on. That’s not the questions that they need to be asked, and this will take it off the table for those guys, and I think that’s one additional consideration here, not obviously the sole one, but one additional consideration.”
Suh had said in recent weeks that ongoing contract negotiations do not distract him, but he implored reporters Monday to not broach the subject with teammates — a request more likely to be honored now that the Lions have said that negotiations are on hold until after the season.
“I would ask you guys not to bother my teammates about something that they have nothing involved in, so for sure, definitely don’t want them to have to answer any questions about it,” Suh said. “Really a tough situation, more so for them, to have no clue, they’re blindsided or whatever it maybe is as most people are blindsided about things that come out in the media and that’s the way it is.
“I’d ask you all not to ask them questions about it and not it be a distraction to our team, as I don’t think it will,” Suh added. “It won’t be a distraction to me. Just out here playing football and having fun.”