|Suh will definitely get fined and possibly suspended for his latest antics. (Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Ndamukong Suh is not a dirty player. We know this because Ndamukong Suh repeats this message almost weekly, usually after a questionable play that virtually everyone agrees would qualify as dirty. The latest incident took place during the Packers-Lions Thanksgiving Day game.
With just over nine minutes remaining in the third quarter and Green Bay leading 7-0, Suh was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct (his second such penalty of the season). What should've been a field-goal attempt for the Packers ended up being a first down, and worse for Detroit: Suh was ejected for stomping on Green Bay guard Evan Blake Dietrich-Smith after the play had concluded.
The Packers scored two plays later to take a 14-0 lead. Looking back at how the game unfolded, you could point to Suh's disqualification as the turning point in the game, and perhaps the Lions' season.
To that point, Detroit had outplayed Green Bay. But In the eight minutes after Suh was sent to the locker room, Lions quarterback Matt Stafford threw two interceptions and by the start of the fourth quarter, the Packers led 24-0. By the time it was over, Green Bay had cruised to a 27-15 victory and an 11-0 record.
Suh had been fined three times for more than $42,000 before his latest on-field incident Thursday afternoon. Ironically, he met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last month for clarification on these previous fines and came away sounding pleased. Shortly after the get-together Suh wrote on his Facebook page:
"I am very appreciative of the opportunity to sit and speak with the Commissioner and his staff to clarify a few questions about my play, and the game in general. I have gained a better understanding how I need to play the game to help my team win. I look forward to the rest of the season and the doing everything we can to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Detroit."
Suh either has a horrible memory or his emotions continue to get the best of him. Because it's clear that his "understanding how I need to play the game to help my team win" didn't carry over from his meeting with Goodell.
And not only did Suh hurt his team's chances of winning against the Packers, he could affect the Lions' matchup with the Saints next week, too. There's no doubt that Suh will face another hefty fine, but there's the real possibility that he could be suspended.
In 2006, then-Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was ejected from a game for stomping on the head of Cowboys center Andre Gurode, who had lost his helmet during the play. Haynesworth was ejected and suspended for five games. Suh's antics weren't nearly as malicious as Haynesworth's, something Goodell may or may not take into consideration.
Whatever happens, Suh has to change the way he plays. He can continue to claim that he's not dirty only to continue to rack up personal-foul penalties, fines and possibly suspensions. Or he can figure out a way to play within the rules while still dominating whomever happens to line up across from him.
We probably won't know Suh's fate for several days. But the Lions are now 7-4, and their schedule doesn't let up for the rest of the regular season. Detroit travels to New Orleans in 10 days, then they'll face the Vikings, Raiders and Chargers before traveling to Lambeau Field in Week 17.
Ideally, Suh will do his part to help keep the Lions in the playoff race. But if he doesn't change the way he plays, he'll end up doing more harm than good.
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