Warren Sapp insists his criticism of Ndamukong Suh isn't personal

By Matt Rybaltowski | CBSSports.com
Warren Sapp and Lions DT Ndamukong Suh posted similar numbers in their first three seasons. (US Presswire)

Warren Sapp might be more stringent in his criticism of Ndamukong Suh than any other player in the league.

After all, Sapp might view the mammoth Detroit Lions' defensive tackle as a younger version of himself. Suh, like Sapp, possesses rare explosiveness for a 300-pounder and can pressure the quarterback relentlessly up the middle at a spot used more for stuffing the run.

Suh, in Sapp's estimations, isn't cutting it. After watching film on Suh from the 2012 regular season, the NFL Network analyst said both the 49ers and Rams ran at the Lions' lineman.

"I am dumbfounded. You lead that defense and they are running the ball right at you?" Sapp told the Detroit News. "I want to see that game where they ran at Mean Joe Greene, where they ran at me or at any hog on that front line. You run away from us. They run at him because he's a blind dog in a meat house."

Through three seasons, Sapp and Suh posted remarkably similar numbers. In Sapp's first three seasons with the Bucs, he recorded 22.5 sacks and 136 tackles. Suh has 22.0 sacks and 137 tackles since entering the NFL in 2010.

Sapp is concerned that Suh's play has regressed since his spectacular rookie season. Suh earned a spot in the Pro Bowl in 2010 after finishing with 10 sacks and 66 tackles. In the last two seasons combined, Suh has barely exceeded his rookie season production. Sapp also made one Pro Bowl appearance in his first three seasons, but it came in his third year.

Both have a history for employing questionable tactics on the field. Suh received a one-game suspension in 2011 for stomping on Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith and received a $30,000 fine this season for kicking Matt Schaub. In 2002, Sapp engaged in a verbal altercation with then-Packers coach Mike Sherman, after he blindsided Packers lineman Chad Clifton on an interception. The injury left Clifton hospitalized for several days following the game.

Sapp, who is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013, insists his criticism of Suh isn't personal.

“I didn't say anything about him stepping on a man two Thanksgivings in a row,” Sapp said. “I am just looking at his technique and seeing the same things. Until he evolves, I'm going to keep saying the same things."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can also follow Matt Rybaltowski @mattrybaltowski.

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