November 29, 2011
Ndamukong Suh(notes), the Detroit Lions defensive leader who was ejected from the team's Thanksgiving game for stomping on the shoulder of a defenseless opponent, was suspended for two games without pay by the NFL on Tuesday.
Should he begin serving the suspension immediately, Suh would miss a road game against the New Orleans Saints and a home game versus the Minnesota Vikings. Jay Glazer reports Suh will not have to attend anger management courses as part of the suspension. He is expected to be fined an additional $50,000 by the Lions for being ejected from a game.
As Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel notes, Suh's absence shouldn't have too much effect on the team's playoff chances should he choose to begin serving the suspension this week. The first game against the Saints was already penciled in as a loss, with or without Suh. The Vikings game should be an easy win even if Suh isn't on the field. It's the Dec. 18 game in Oakland, the Christmas Eve game against the Chargers and the Week 17 game against a Packers team that may be playing for an undefeated season or could be resting starters for the playoffs that will decide Detroit's playoff chances. That's when the team needs him on the field.
The two-game suspension fits in line with expectations and is the proper ban for Suh's dirty maneuvers. Pushing the helmet and stepping on the arm of Evan Dietrich-Smith(notes) wasn't as egregious as Albert Haynesworth(notes) stepping on the head of Andre Gurode(notes), a move which earned Haynesworth a five-game suspension in 2006. But given Suh's past fines ($42,500 in his young career) and lawless on-field attitude, it sends the proper message.
Much was made of Suh's comments after the game in which he claimed he was misunderstood, his subsequent retreat from that stance and the call he made three days after the incident to Roger Goodell. I doubt they played as much a role in the suspension as some believe. This isn't the NBA, where contrition can lead to leniency and defiance to long suspensions (right, Gilbert Arenas?). Goodell sanctions players, coaches and owners for the deeds they do, not what they say about them. Suh deserved his two games and should be thankful it's all he got.
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