|Ndamukong Suh won't be suspended for kicking Texans QB Matt Schaub's groin on Sunday, but he could still be fined. |
When the Detroit Lions return to the practice field Tuesday, they'll do so with the knowledge that one of their key defensive players will be available to face the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at Ford Field.
That's because the NFL notified the team on Monday that defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh would not be suspended for his kick to Texans QB Matt Schaub's groin during the first quarter of Houston's 34-31 overtime win over Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. The incident happened as Suh was being spun to the ground by Texans' tackle Derek Newton. Suh kicked out into space twice while upside down, and made contact with Schaub.
The NFL's decision not to suspend Suh doesn't mean he'll escape punishment for his actions. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the incident would still be reviewed for a possible fine. The possible fine would be the fifth of Suh's career. He was fined three times during his rookie year, and once during the 2011 season. Three of the fines were received for hits on opposing quarterbacks, and one was because Suh used another player as leverage to attempt to block a field goal. The four fines cost Suh a total of $47,500.
For all the negative attention Suh has received over the kick, it's worth noting that he was not penalized on the play, which happened in view of the officials. Despite his reputation as one of the NFL's dirtiest players, Suh has only been penalized once this year -- an encroachment foul in Week 2 -- and has not been the subject of any fine released by the league.
In fact, Suh hasn't been called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty or personal foul since returning from the two-game suspension he received for stomping a Packers' player on Thanksgiving last season. All three of his penalties in the 15 games since the suspension have been for defensive offside or encroachment.
In an upcoming issue of ESPN the Magazine, Suh says his ability to avoid costly, emotion-based penalties is partly due to his desire to improve as a player and person following the ejection.
“I definitely understand how to channel my aggression in a productive way,” Suh told the magazine. “There are many reasons [for his maturation]. One is I went through that situation last Thanksgiving. But also, any man, any child, grows up. You learn from your mistakes or you go backward. I'm the kind of person who wants to move forward.”
Schaub says Suh's play not “Texans Worthy”: The NFL's decision not to suspend Suh for kicking Schaub probably won't go over well with the Texans' QB, given that he told a Houston radio station that he wouldn't want Suh as a teammate.
Schaub declined to address the situation after Thursday's game, telling reporters “I really don't have anything to say about that play -- or that person.” He found the words he needed in time for an interview with Houston's 610 AM on Monday. When asked if he would like Suh as a teammate, Schaub took the opportunity to express his opinions of Suh as a player.
“You don't want a player like that,” he said. “The stuff that [Suh] stands for, and the type of player he is, that's not ‘Houston Texan' worthy. That's not what we're about as a football team, as individuals, as collectively as a group. We're not that type of person.”
Lions-Packers to stay on Sunday Night Football: The NFL confirmed Monday that Detroit's Dec. 9 game at Green Bay will be broadcast as scheduled on NBC's Sunday Night Football. The network had the option to keep the Lions-Packers game on its' airwaves, or move another, more desirable game into the time slot as a part of the NFL's flex-schedule policy.
Follow Lions' reporter John Kreger on Twitter at @CBSLions and @JohnKreger.