Posted by Will Brinson
Following the recent Detroit whipping of New England, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote a column about Ndamukong Suh and how he's offically become a dirty player at this (early) point in his career.
The piece generated a groundswell of opinion from fans and media alike and on Monday, Suh was asked what he thought about being dirty. And he continued to defend his play, as well as use his mother as a reference for clean play in the NFL.
"I’m going to continue to play hard and play within the rules as I have been," Suh told CBSSports.com's Lions Rapid Reporter John Kreger. "When I'll consider myself a dirty player is when my mom tells me [I am]."
Suh also discussed the "punch" he threw at Logan Mankins, which he claims was necessary for the defense of a teammate.
"Everything happens in the trenches," Suh said. "You’re not just going to sit there [as a] teammate and walk away from ... your (teammate) being grabbed by his facemask."
Additionally, Suh said he didn't regret the incident and that he felt it fell within the "legal" boundaries of what's acceptable on a football field.
"Do I regret (the incident)? No," Suh told Kreger. "The funny thing about the whole situation is that I wasn’t the one who got the 15-yard penalty for grabbing the facemask ... I didn’t know you can’t help protect one of your teammates."
You can protect your teammates, but throwing punches at another player is a pretty quick way to pick up a large fine from the league. Suh said he didn't receive any penalty, however, because he discussed the incident with the officials at Saturday's game.
"I had a great conversation with the ref who saw the (incident)," Suh told Kreger. "He said, 'Next time, make sure you let me handle the situation, but I understand what you were doing, helping your teammate out.'"
The question is whether or not the league will understand what Suh was doing. And even if the guys who hand out fines at the NFL do get that he was protecting his teammate, it might not matter much, as Suh could certainly be facing a fine from the 280 Park Avenue.
In the meantime, expect plenty of continued debate about whether or not Suh is a dirty player (and feel free to weigh in below!). I'm personally of the opinion that he's so freaking strong it's nearly impossible for him not to look dirty and that certain incidents -- namely, the Jake Delhomme rag-doll toss in the 2010 preseason -- have led to the development of a reputation that Suh will find very hard to shake.
That's precisely why everyone was in an uproar (the league to the tune of $20,000) when he accidentally popped off Andy Dalton's helmet, and it's precisely why when he throws a punch there's more concern than if another NFL player did so.
But that's also part of being a defensive superstar with freakishly terrifying strength -- people are going to be keeping a closer eye on you.
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