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Ndamukong Suh has gained quite the reputation throughout his near-decade in the NFL — and it’s not necessarily the best.
Suh, who was officially introduced as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday, is often seen as a “dirty player.” Suh has compiled 71 accepted penalties since he joined the league in 2010, the most in the NFL, and has been fined more than $330,000, according to ESPN.
Yet that reputation, Suh said, is “irrelevant” to him. Before someone passes judgement, especially now in his new locker room, he wants them to take time to get to know him.
“Before you pass judgment on somebody, always take the time to get to know them, meet them, have coffee with them, whatever it may be and then be able to go from there,” Suh said, via ESPN. “I think when people have seen blips of me ... it's been in a negative light, rather than a positive light and that's due to outlets of media, social media, whatever it may be.
“I can deal with that because I know who I am as a person, I know who my parents are, what kind of child they brought up — it's irrelevant in my life. I think the people that know me the best see me always in a good light and see the troubles and tribulations that I've gone through, as any human being goes through in their lives.”
The 32-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Bucs this offseason worth nearly $10 million. He’s coming off a one-year stint with the Los Angeles Rams, where he compiled 59 total tackles — though was fined twice for more than $40,000.
While he may not be the leader many fans envision, Suh said he thinks he can be a real asset in Tampa — especially with its young locker room.
“I think I've always been a leader in my own particular way," Suh said, via ESPN. “Whether I was a rookie in Detroit or a ninth-year guy in L.A., I've always been a leader of action. And I think actions speak louder than words. I've always prided myself on that. So however that kind of evolves in itself ... I'll lead in any way that is best for me, and at the same time that's best for the team.”
No bad blood after Suh’s 2011 arm stomp incident
Perhaps the most notable incident involving Suh was when he was playing with the Detroit Lions in 2011.
Suh, after getting locked up with then-Green Bay Packers lineman Evan Smith, was pulled off Smith and violently stomped on his arm, which led to his ejection.
Now, both Suh and Smith are teammates in Tampa — yet there isn’t any bad blood between the two.
“I think that was in the past and it will remain in the past,” Suh said, via ESPN. “We've interacted with each other multiple times throughout [the years]. He was actually the second guy I got to speak to when I got here today, so I don't see any issue with it. I think people want to make it bigger than what it is. I'll leave it at that.”
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians backed him up on that, and said he actually saw the two embracing in the practice facility on Friday, too.
“They were hugging coming down the hallway together, so I don't think there's any problem,” Arians said, via ESPN. “We're all here to win, and once you're in the same locker room you can forget all the past stuff. Some of that stuff happened a long time ago and I don't really care. That doesn't bother me. The way he plays football — I like that. So he's a good fit for us.”
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