ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Ndamukong Suh returned to the Detroit Lions on Wednesday and, at least in his interaction with the media, was in only a slightly better mood than when last seen stomping a Green Bay Packer and earning a two-game suspension.
This is probably OK with the Lions, who need their star defensive tackle for a critical three-game playoff push that starts Sunday in Oakland.
Suh's outburst came after a play on Thanksgiving, and if he can just maintain a proper level of aggression to between the whistles, everything will be great. You don't get any extra points on Sunday for midweek media conference remorse.
So if you were counting on a tearful apology – in front of the cameras or in the locker room – you've got the wrong guy.
"I'm looking forward to playing Oakland," Suh said.
Thoughts on the incident involving Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith?
"It is what it is. Like I said, I'm looking forward to playing Oakland and getting back on the field."
What did you learn from the experience?
"Like I said, I'm looking forward to getting back on the football field."
How was it watching your team play without you?
[ Weekly rankings: Lions in the top 10 ]
"It's the situation that I had to deal with and I dealt with it in the best manner that I know and I look forward to playing Oakland."
If anything, it got less insightful from there, especially when asked about a car accident in Portland during his suspension. Suh either turned away in silence every time that subject was broached or channeled his Drew Rosenhaus with a "next question?"
According to Suh's teammates, he was no more forthcoming with them. Not that they really care. They just need him to draw double-teams, stuff the run and maybe drag Carson Palmer to the ground Sunday.
They claim he showed up Wednesday for practice like nothing had happened.
[ Playoff picture: Lions clinging to NFC's final spot ]
"It's just like he was on vacation," defensive tackle Nick Fairley said. "He came home and knocked on the door."
Say this much for Suh: He clearly didn't care about repairing his public image. He's unhappy with his doubters and critics – fans and media alike – and wasn't afraid to show it.
This wasn't some staged deal with well-crafted answers that weren't rooted in reality. It wasn't phony. By not saying much, he said plenty. Take it or leave it.
He's done apologizing for stepping on Dietrich-Smith, the move that got him ejected during the Lions' 27-15 loss to the Packers and suspended for two games. In fact, he declined to take an opportunity to apologize publicly to Dietrich-Smith.
He also offered no clarifications for his much-panned postgame interview session where he seemed defiant about what he'd done.
Suh doesn't see himself as a bad guy, and rather than try to convince those that do they are wrong, he'd rather just move on and play. He didn't seem pleased with the media, but then again, does that really matter?
"It's not going to make me cry at night," Suh said. "It's not going to make me cry to sleep. It is what it is. You're going to write what you want to write. I'm going to move on with my life, I'm going to continue to play football."
Suh has just 31 tackles and three sacks on the season, a far cry from the 66 and 10 he put up as a rookie. However, he's seen constant double-teams and his potential is obvious.
The Lions are 8-5 and if he contributes to a major road win against the Raiders, the memories of Thanksgiving will fade even further. If anything, he's better equipped now: Two weeks of rest and healing at this time of the year is a major plus.
He isn't worried about playing tough without again crossing the fine line into flags, fines and suspensions. "There's always a fine line between everything," he noted.
This is pretty much how it went. Suh wanted to say nothing. He mostly succeeded.
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His coaches and teammates answered any concern about whether Suh can maintain his poise after the play – "That's easy [to do]," Fairley said, "you learn to control it" – or whether his past mistakes will draw too much attention from the refs – "Since the first game he's played everybody has been watching him," coach Jim Schwartz said.
So at the Lions practice facility, on the most critical week of the season, everything is great. Who needs contrition? The suspension is done. The big guy has returned.
"Same old Suh," defensive lineman Cliff Avril said. "Ready to play football."
Everyone is looking forward to playing Oakland.
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