Ndamukong Suh has been accused of being a dirty player throughout his career, but frankly, that’s not the proper designation. Suh is a reckless player; he just doesn’t know how to play smart football that doesn’t ultimately set his own team back.
Suh’s most recent illegal, and highly controversial play, came on a low block after the Lions had intercepted a pass. The block wiped out the touchdown following the interception return, and to make matters worse, the Lions quickly turned the ball over themselves. The maddening part of it all was how needless the block was. It was behind the play, and no offensive lineman was going to catch up to the play.
Suh was fined $100,000 by the NFL, the largest fine for on-field play ever, but that probably won’t stop Suh from making bone-headed plays. At his finest, Suh is one of the most feared defensive linemen in the league, but the benefit the Lions enjoy from his ability is often offset by needless penalties.
Ndamukong Suh almost certainly did not set out to injure Vikings center John Sullivan when he took a low shot at the Vikings lineman, but it seems equally likely that Suh simply didn’t consider the effect of what he was doing
Yes, the Lions came back and beat the Minnesota Vikings, but that play had the potential to kill Detroit. The Lions have a bad habit of shooting themselves in the foot, and Suh has been a large part of that culture since entering the league.
This isn’t an issue that fines will fix. Suh has a bank account deep enough to absorb any reasonable financial hit the league throws at him. For his recent hit, Suh probably should have been suspended, but that wasn’t the case. His most recent fine likely serves as a final notice from the league, meaning, “Stop it, or else.”
We’ll obviously be waiting to see if Suh slips up again, but fines rarely accomplish their goal of stopping a behavior. Missing game time may send the right message. For now, Ndamukong Suh remains one of the most controversial players in the NFL for good reason, and we’re happy to leave it at that until his next idiotic moment.