Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh tweeted Wednesday that he had been fined $20,000 for manhandling Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the Week 1 preseason game between the two teams.
(One of the setbacks to communicating through social media, texting or email is that it's difficult for the reader to divine the true emotions being conveyed by the sender. Emoticons, ironically, only confused things. That said, Suh's tweet left little room for misinterpretation. The all-caps, rhetorical question marks, 108 exclamations points (!), and the "BIGFAIL" hashtag sorts gave him away.)
It should come as no surprise then that Suh will appeal the fine.
“Am I going to appeal it? Who wouldn’t?” Suh said Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press's Dave Birkett. “I mean, that’s my motto. Who wouldn’t? If you would, why wouldn’t I?”
CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman was at Bengals training camp this week and he asked Dalton if Suh was a dirty player.
"I can't answer that. I don't know," said Dalton. "I thought what he did with me was a little over the top. I can tell you some of my teammates weren't happy about it. ...It was good to see those guys get my back. Suh is a big guy."
This makes the third time Suh, the Lions' 2010 first-round pick, has been fined for hits (or, as you'll soon see, pushes) to the quarterback. During the 2010 preseason, Suh appeared intent on removing Jake Delhomme's head from his body during a game against the Browns. That cost him $7,500. During the regular season Suh was docked another $15,000 for shoving Jay Cutler. (Yep, you read that right -- it was a hard shove. We know what you're thinking: the savagery tackle football has become.)
Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said there's "no malicious intent" in Suh's game.
“I think what’s happened to him is I've never seen this player in my life, meaning there’s no one that’s ever played like this at defensive tackle," Cunningham said. "And if you watch the tape and you have any sense for athletes, that’s what you’re going to see. What happens to him, there were two guys blocking him in the game, he beat them both, clean as a whistle, and he felt like he had the tackle. The quarterback had the ball in his hand, and that was it, he took him down. And that’s what he's supposed to do."
To Suh's credit, he understands that his freakish combination of strength, speed and athleticism can sometimes make the mundane spectacular. And occasionally, spectacularly expensive.
“Honestly, I really feel that I put the refs in a tough situation because of my strength," he said. "A lot of us players growing up and coming in, we’re getting faster, stronger, and some guys just have incredible strength on that football field. So I feel like we put them in tough situations … I’m not going to fault them for making a call that they’re erring on the safer side, because safety is important. It’s important for myself, it’s important for a quarterback, it’s important for every last 22 players on the football field."
Despite concerns from some teams (most notably the Steelers), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell retained the ability to punish players for both on and off-field behavior as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. Using history as a guide, Suh can go ahead and make that check out to his favorite NFL charity.
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