Detroit Lions tackle Ndamukong Suh landed in hot waters after landing a kick to the groin on Houston Texans starting quarterback Matt Schaub last Thursday. After reviewing the circumstances, the NFL declared Ndamukong Suh in clear of a suspension but still liable for a fine. On Wednesday the NFL acted upon that by fining Ndamukong Suh $30,000 for the Thanksgiving hit on Matt Schaub.
During last week’s 34-41 overtime loss, Ndamukong Suh was rushing the pass when he was pulled to the ground as his leg extended and he ended up kicking Matt Schaub in the groin area, who immediately clutched the affected region.
The recent hit didn’t help Ndamukong Suh’s reputation, who’s been widely regarded as the NFL’s dirtiest player over the course of the past few years. However, Ndamukong Suh insisted the kick wasn’t intentional and he didn’t need to apologize to Matt Schaub for the incident.
"I was being dragged to the ground and my foot inadvertently hit the man," said Ndamukong Suh. “But it’s over with, moving forward and getting ready to play the Colts.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell too raised the issue at Detroit Lions function Tuesday night, expressing his utmost displeasure with the kick incident.
"Anytime you see a play like that, you want to say, 'Why did it happen?' It's hard for us to be able to determine that just from video,” said Roger Goodell. “Those are the things that sometimes you have to talk to Ndamukong in this case, or the player, but intent is something that's very difficult for us to ever try to make a judgment on."
The fine implies that the NFL didn’t believe Ndamukong Suh’s kick was purely accidental and Matt Schaub isn’t convinced either. Given Ndamukong Suh’s damaging reputation, Matt Schaub can’t imagine playing on the same team with the tackle.
“The stuff that he stands for and the type of player he is, that's not Houston Texan-worthy," stated Matt Schaub. "That's not what we're about as a football team, as individuals, collectively as a group, we're not that type of person."
Both Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand and head coach Jim Schwartz felt the NFL made the right call by choosing not to suspend Ndamukong Suh for the kick on Matt Schaub.
"What I saw was his head was down and away from that play," said Jim Schwartz. "In my mind you would have to have eyes in the back of your head to be able to do it (on purpose)."
"I think that we've seen an increasing development of his awareness and his responsibility ,” added Tom Lewand about Ndamukong Suh’s uncanny ability of delivering dirty hits, “and I think you see that with the fact that he has not had a personal-foul penalty levied against him all year, period."
Ndamukong Suh has been fined five times during three seasons with the Detroit Lions for dirty hits on rival players. The 25-year-old Ndamukong Suh also received a two-game suspension (without pay) last year after he was ejected in a game for stomping on Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith’s arm. Ndamukong Suh has collected $243,000 in fines and suspensions over his NFL career.