By Steve Silverman
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Chalk it up as another big mistake for the NFL.READ MORE: Eviction Moratorium: What Happens To Renters When The CDC Ban Expires?
This time, the NFL decided to show it a was a charitable organization that wanted to help out the lowly Detroit Lions and that great humanitarian, Ndamukong Suh.
Prior to last Sunday’s NFC North showdown between the Packers and the Lions at Lambeau Field, Suh had been fined seven times for his on-field actions and suspended once.
There was some indication that Suh was starting to mature and put his law-breaking ways behind him, since he had not been fined since November of 2013 when he had to pay a veritable pittance of $7,875 for taunting.
He hadn’t been fined for physical contact since he was hit with a roughing-the-passer penalty ($31,500) in October of that year.
Suh had kept it completely clean in 2014 until he stepped on Aaron Rodgers twice in the fourth quarter as the game was slipping away from Detroit.
Suh did not stomp on Rodgers in an obvious attempt to injure, but he stepped on Rodgers’ damaged lower leg after the probable MVP had been knocked to the ground.
Rodgers thought he had suffered a season-ending injury because he thought Suh had snapped his Achilles when he stepped on him.
Luckily for Rodgers, the pain dissipated as soon as Suh took his foot off of him, and he was able to continue without any major injury.
Suh was suspended for a game the next morning by Merton Hanks, but Suh appealed. Former NFL coach Ted Cottrell relented and turned the suspension into a $70,000 fine, giving him clearance to play in the Lions’ Wild-Card game at Dallas.READ MORE: Cuomo: New York State Hospital Workers Must Get Vaccinated, No Testing Option; New CDC Guidance Under Review
Suh’s explanation that his feet had been numbed by the cold and that he couldn’t tell the difference between hard ground and Rodgers’ leg is simply ridiculous. Nevertheless, Cottrell bought the explanation.
Suh has been a habitual offender ever since he was selected by the Lions with the No. 2 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and it’s clear he is a dirty player. It looked like he was starting to learn to control his destructive tendencies as he reached his fifth year in the league, but it turns out he was only waiting for an opportunity to demonstrate his ability to play the role of villain.
It was a selfish and stupid act that his team was going to have to pay for. If Suh was not going to be in the lineup against the Cowboys, DeMarco Murray was almost certainly going to have a much easier time of running the ball through the Detroit defense.
Suh is a remarkably strong and powerful man, and he combines those two assets with great quickness. There is little doubt that he is a remarkable football player who excels at shutting down the interior run and is quick enough to get through the gaps and harass opposing quarterbacks. He can even do it legally, when he so chooses.
Suh certainly could have committed a worse offense than merely stepping on Rodgers. But that shouldn’t have gotten him out of the suspension. It was a ridiculous decision, and if there’s any player who doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, it’s Suh.
By rescinding the suspension, the NFL is inviting more dirty play. If Suh can get away with it and not miss a game, just about anyone this side of Donte Whitner, Cortland Finnegan and Dashon Goldson can have a free run at committing mayhem in any game.
Suh was and remains a dirty player. He nearly injured Rodgers badly and he put his team at risk by not being able to control his impulses.
He will be a free agent days after the Super Bowl ends, and any team that looks at him and believes it can turn him around and control him is making a huge mistake — just like the one the NFL made this week by letting Suh off the hook.
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