Let’s get this out of the way now. Ndamukong Suh has the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award wrapped up. No one else is even close. He’s been one of the few bright spots in a long Detroit Lions season. (Although by Lions standards, this is a much better season than usual- only three of their ten losses have been by nine or more points).
At six-feet-four and 305 pounds, Suh possesses stellar mobility with his uncanny lateral movement on a straight line rush. He runs through the entire play and over blockers pushing them deep into the backfield. In Detroit’s 3-4 defense, he’s produced 8 sacks (tied with former Purdue Boilermakers DE Cliff Avril for the team lead) and 40 solo tackles in 2010.
And his “ndominating play” has often been the subject of controversy this season. He was asked about it at Cowboys Stadium during the Nike Football Media Summit last week.
By Paul M. Banks
“Things are always going to happen, there’s going to be human error and situations where a call may not go your way and with that you get to learn how to bounce back from those situations,” Suh said of his infamous hit on Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler. And of course there was the pull-down of Cowboys RB Marion Barber, which occurred just yards away from where this interview took place.
“Right over on the 20 yard line. I understand it’s safety first, and I didn’t want to grab his hair by any means, but that was the only thing I had and I didn’t want him to score a TD. I’m not a dirty player and I apologized to him right after the next play. And told him that I didn’t mean to anything by it. Just trying to make a play and help my team,” Suh said of the hit.
Suh was also a trending topic in late August on Yahoo! for his hit on Cleveland Browns QB Jake Delhomme that garnered him a $7,500 fine.
Staying in school another year at Nebraska truly helped Ndamukong Suh, probably the nation’s best college football player last year. “It was really a matter of weighing the pros and cons and the pros outweighed the cons in my eyes. I never second guessed the decision and I’m happy with it,” he said.
I then asked Suh what, asides from winning obviously, motivates him.
“Honestly, I like to make my parents proud, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve never wanted to disappoint them, not only in sports but primarily in school, because the main focus was always being able to graduate. And to see my parents cry at my graduation, it’s things like that which I’ll never forget,” he responded.
And what about having to share his home field with the Minnesota Vikings earlier this season. “It’s fine with me, as long as as they’re playing after us,” he said.
And on top of what he means to the Lions’ defense, Suh is also the emergency kicker on the Lions roster. Therefore, with the second overall selection in this year’s NFL draft, there is every indication Detroit Lions’ brass made exactly the right move.
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He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com