November 27, 2011
Ndamukong Suh(notes) will receive at least a two-game suspension for stomping on the arm of Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith(notes) during the Detroit Lions Thanksgiving day loss, ESPN reported Sunday.
Although the exact length of the suspension won't be announced until Tuesday at the earliest, it's believed Suh will get a minimum of two games and may be required to take anger management classes. A ban of two games would make Suh lose $164,000 in salary.
Suh's lack of contrition in the immediate aftermath of the incident may have play a role in Roger Goodell's determination of suspension length. The second-year defensive end gave an insincere explanation for his actions and feigned innocence during a postgame press conference on Thursday. One day later, he released a better statement of apology but the damage had already been done.
Two games would be a fitting punishment for Suh's on-field actions and off-field reaction. It's long enough to send a message to him and the rest of the NFL that there's no place in the league for contemptible play but shorter than the five-game ban Goodell gave to Albert Haynesworth(notes) when he stepped on the head of Andre Gurode(notes) in 2006.
Suh has the right to appeal. If his suspension begins next week, he could miss a nationally-televised game against the New Orleans Saints and a home matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. His absence for one or both of those games could be devastating to the playoff chances of the once-hot Lions, who have stumbled to losses in four of their past six games.
But losing Suh for two games is the least of Detroit's problems. He's the cornerstone of the franchise and a supposed on-field leader who can't keep his composure during games. In the dream scenario, Suh, who's widely considered a smart, charitable young man, realizes the err of his ways, tones down the emotion without losing his tenaciousness and becomes a well-rounded franchise player. Reality doesn't always work so nicely. Hotheads rarely start new chapters in sports. Suh is young and gets it, two factors that suggest he may be able to do so.
But he's now a marked man. Opponents will spend all game trying to goad him into making another mistake and refs will be watching eagle-eyed to see if he does.
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