How soon is too soon to declare a guy as someone who doesn't get it? News came out today that the Detroit Lions defensive tackle may have incurred another traffic violation.
It's pretty easy to make a list of controversial incidents with the talented player out of Nebraska. Suh had a great rookie year, amassing 66 tackles along with 10 sacks to continue the pronostications talking about his phenom status. His production fell in 2011 down to less than 40 tackles and just 4 sacks. This season has seen a bit of a rebound in the sack department in which he has 4.5 with five games to go. He is credited with 20 tackles thus far. It may be time to wonder if that production is worth it.
Suh's most recent defense seemed to involve the idea that his prior actions now make him a target for negative stories.
We're not talking Jay Cutler sourpuss stories here. We are talking about actual negative stories involving the law. Suh might have a proper defense if there was not an obvious pattern of previous behavior with no evidence of learning.
The ticket would be his fourth traffic violation in the last two years. Last March, he was speeding to the tune on 36 MPH over the speed limit of 55 MPH in Portland, Oregon. Last December, while he was suspended for on field conduct that involved the stomping of an opposing player
, Suh ran his vehicle into a tree when he lost control. Then there was the traffic accident last month
. He also had a mysterious incident in college that involved parked cars, his car swerving and a squirrel that had to be saved.
Common sense would tell us that a guy with one of the last big rookie contracts (5 years/$60MM with $40MM guaranteed, according to www.spotrac.com
) would be able to find a way home if he is unable to be trusted behind the wheel of a car. Common sense would say that the Lions off-season filled with legal turmoil (with the March 2012 incident being part of it) would have led a meeting prior to the most recent incidents. Common sense seems to be something that is lacking in many Lions players.
This does not help the outlook for the team. There is a growing amount of opinions coming out of Michigan that seem to think that the coach may not be helping the reputation of the team. In fact, Jim Schwartz feels that nothing is wrong.
Suh's contract has a cap hit of over $17MM for the next two seasons before a slightly kinder season in 2015. It's possible that the Lions picked the exact wrong time to obtain three franchise players in three seasons because of the sheer money owed to Calvin Johnson, Matt Stafford and Suh (about $50MM of cap hits in 2013 and 2014). The last thing that the Lions need is for one of those three players to be proven to be unreliable. It's time for Ndamukong Suh to become a man.