February 03, 2011
In Part 1 of Shutdown Corner's recent conversation with Ndamukong Suh, the ridiculously talented Detroit Lions defensive tackle talked about the techniques that got him to where he is today. In the second installment, he discusses some of the people who helped him get to where he is, and gives his thoughts on the future of the Lions and the possibility of a lockout.
(Note: I think Suh actually liked my idea of his ability to sack everyone in the room as a possible incentive to get the owners and players on the same page; this guy would make Terry Tate, Office Linebacker look like Milton from Office Space. But I digress.)
Ndamukong Suh: That's a tough question. I think the sack of Tom Brady(notes) - to be able to stand up, play off my teammates, and hit him in the edge. That was a great sack, as well as the two sacks I had against Donovan McNabb(notes). I think those two were definitely violent, impressive hits I put on him - a good way to take down a quarterback.
SC: But you're going to hold the ball a little tighter the next time you recover a fumble, right?
NS: (Laughs) Oh yeah, no question. No celebrating until I get to the back of the end zone. I don't want to hear from Coach Schwartz about that ever again!
SC: Signing Day is upon us again - what was your signing day like, and how many schools were after you?
NS: My signing day was pretty laid-back. I already knew that I wanted to sign with Nebraska, and I had a press conference at my high school. The principal allowed me to do that during lunch. My recruiting process was a blast - I loved taking trips to Miami, Cal, Oregon State, Michigan State, and of course, Nebraska. It was a very interesting road trip and something that I'll always cherish.
SC: Talk a bit about your linemates, because you've told me before how important it is to learn from the guys around you - it's more than just coaching that helps you develop at the next level.
NS: No question - I have some really great teammates, and I have said this many times before - I'm a very lucky and blessed rookie to come into a great situation that I came into. Kyle Vanden Bosch(notes), a 10-year veteran. Corey Williams(notes), an eight-year veteran. Cliff Avril(notes), a three-year veteran. We're so lucky to have those older guys, to learn how be pros from them. Obviously, I didn't have to come in there and be the main guy on that line.
SC: When you talk about honors and the reflection of your rookie campaign ... obviously, making the Pro Bowl as a rookie was a big thing, but when you hear Gunther Cunningham - your defensive coordinator and a guy who's seen just about everything in the NFL over his decades of work - say that you're the best defensive tackle and one of the greatest defensive players he's ever seen, how does that make you feel?
NS: It's a real honor, because I know he's coached a lot of great players. I know he's very excited to have me on his team, and I only want to continue to prove him right, that I really can be one of the greatest players he's ever coached. I have a lot of work ahead of me to do that, and I'm looking forward to it.
SC: The Lions are a team on the rise; people will be expecting more of you in 2011. How does that make you feel?
NS: The NFC North is a great division, and I'm very excited about what we have with Chicago and Green Bay, and Minnesota in a little down spell, but I like playing against those great teams. I like playing against Green Bay; we beat them at the end of the year. We should have been able to complete a win against Chicago, but we just didn't finish the way we needed to do to get that done. But I'm looking forward to playing against them again and proving ourselves.
SC: Obviously, the CBA is on the minds of all the players - as someone who busted into the league as well as you did, and hopes for a great sophomore campaign, how does that affect your offseason? What are your thoughts about it?
NS: I really do think it will be handled correctly - I see the progression going on between the two sides and I don't think there will be a problem with it. Obviously, there will have to be some long meetings put in place, but I think it will work out for the best for both sides.
SC: Do you think it would help if you were inserted in the negotiations, with both sides told that if they didn't come to an agreement before the season starts, you'll be allowed to treat everyone in the room as a live quarterback?
NS: (Laughs). Uhhh ... I don't know if that would work. It's a business, and there's a lot of lawyers and stuff like that involved. We'll see how it all works out.
SC: Talk a bit about what you're doing for Subway.
NS: It's a great opportunity to work with Subway - being a "Famous Fan" for them and getting a great breakfast every morning when you choose to. One of the nice things is that you can go to Subway and create any type of sandwich you want for breakfast, and while you're there, you can grab your lunch as well. This month, Subway has a promotion what we're calling FebruANY since it's February and you can get any regular foot-long sub for five dollars for the rest of the month.
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