Ndamukong Suh has incurred $139,375 in fines this season, and he's been fined eight times -- and suspended two games -- since coming into the league in 2010. Despite the history of finding trouble, the Lions defensive tackle is hoping to change his reputation as a dirty player that has its origins in a 2011 head-stomping incident against Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith.
“It's obviously tainted me and given me a bad rep, and well-deserved in that instance, but I don't think one moment in somebody's life is going to define them,” Suh said during an appearance on XM NFL Radio (via PFT). “I've vowed, not only to myself personally, but to my family and my teammates and coaches not to have that happen again and not have situations like that that's going to hurt them or make them feel that they can't be proud of me or want me as a teammate.
“That's one thing that I just hope and wish people have the opportunity and take the light to be unbiased and really kind of take a look at my track record and not define me by one instance and one mistake in my life that I've had.”
Suh says he has matured since he game into the league four seasons ago.
“I think I've definitely grown up quite a bit just understanding that if you're not growing up, you're just moving backward,” he said. I'm a person that always wants to move forward, always want to grow and learn and not be the smartest person in the room, because when you're not the smartest person in the room, you're always learning things. I'm a learner. That's how I got to where I am now.”
And while he was fined $7,875 for making a throat-slashing gesture during the Thanksgiving Day beatdown of the Packers, the .GIF below is an example of that maturity.
Suh tackled Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn in the end zone but appeared to let up near the end of the play. In year's past, there would have been ripped-off helmets, head stomps or groin kicks. This time, Suh took it easy on a quarterback who had already had an exceedingly tough afternoon.
That seems like progress to us.
In October, Suh said he thought he was doing a better job of playing the game the right way.
“I feel like I'm playing within the rules for the most part, without a doubt," he said. "I think every defensive player, the game is so fast, so quick you can't be 100 percent right on one assignment and that's what you have the athletic ability to make up for those things.”