October 23, 2011
We know that Detroit Lions super-tackle Ndamukong Suh(notes) doesn't have a lot of respect for quarterbacks — he's exhibited this through his NFL career with roughing the passer penalties that have been legit at times, and he's displayed a certain proclivity for twisting the heads of certain Ohio-based quarterbacks (specifically, Cleveland's Jake Delhomme(notes) in 2010 and Cincinnati's Andy Dalton(notes) in 2011) as if they were bottle tops. But according to several members of the Atlanta Falcons' offense, Suh took things way too far after Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan(notes) was injured on a freak play in the third quarter of the Falcons' 23-16 win at Detroit's Ford Field.
The play had Ryan in obvious pain after his right ankle bent in a bad way after he tripped over tackle Will Svitek(notes). Ryan came off the field and returned to action shortly thereafter, but per Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Suh and at least one teammate went over the line verbally.
"I had respect for Suh before the game," Falcons center Todd McClure(notes) said after the game. "But when Matt was on the ground, the things he was saying and the trash he was talking was definitely uncalled for. There are certain things you don't do. [He said], 'Get the cart' and several other things that I can't repeat."
Receiver Roddy White(notes) agreed. "I lost a whole lot of respect for 90 [Suh] today, and also 92 [Cliff Avril(notes)], the [bleep] they were doing when Matt got hurt. That was unacceptable. … Like 92 was kicking [Ryan's] feet, saying, 'Get him off the field.' We don't do stuff like that. We don't rally over guys when they get hurt. It was just inappropriate behavior. I mean, 'Get the cart'? Are you serious? Come on. When you compete, you never want to see a guy get hurt."
[Related: Falcons receiver Harry Douglas talks about Atlanta's win on Y! Sports Radio]
Suh had no specific comment about his alleged comments, saying only that he was disappointed in the Lions' second straight loss, and remarking that his run defense isn't what it should be. Ryan just said that he didn't hear whatever Suh and Avril were saying, which makes sense — you tend to not hear a lot when you're in that much pain.
Avril had this to say via his Twitter account:
Come on I'm not in the business of hurting not one guy on the field... I would never taunt anyone on an injury...
But if we want to talk about dirty players look at the film and see who prides themselves on being durty...
While the Lions allegedly showed less than ideal class, Ryan proved his toughness. "Well, when I first came to the sideline, I didn't know, because I wanted to make sure the trainers had a chance to look at it — want to be smart in those situations," Ryan said of the injury. "Once I came back in and was able to get it taped and move around on it, I knew I was going to be fine. So, I came back out and told [head coach] Mike [Smith] I was going to be good to go, then came in on third down."
Smith put it more succinctly: His quarterback showed why the Falcons are comfortable putting the franchise in Ryan's hands. "It just shows you the resolve and the resiliency of this guy. He got whacked pretty good; we had to take him into the locker room and really get a good examination. When I saw him coming out of the tunnel, I was trying like crazy to see if we could get him back out there for that third down. Can you go?
"And Matt said, 'Hey, I need to just see if I can put some pressure on it.' He just took a shot and said, 'Hey, I'm ready to go.' He goes out there, and his first play back, he completes a third-down conversion."
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford(notes), who has faced a number of injury concerns in his short career, also was hurt in the game. "A guy just fell on me a little bit awkward. I'm moving around on it OK right now. We'll see," Stafford said of his leg injury. But Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported on Sunday afternoon that Stafford was wearing a walking boot and will have an MRI on Monday.
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