Since joining the league as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been a wrecking ball. He has made three Pro Bowls in four seasons, was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, earned three All-Pro selections, and has totaled 27.5 sacks.
But, he has also been a lightning rod for criticism. As ESPN.com’s Jeffri Chadiha cites in this column, Suh has been suspended and fined nearly $217K in the past three seasons. With questions swirling about his character, along with an entirely new coaching staff, Suh showing up to the team’s offseason workouts would be a step in the right direction for a player whose name is too often referred to in a negative context.
Instead, Suh spent time in Las Vegas, negotiating a contract in its early stages that would likely place the former Heisman Trophy finalist among the top-paid defensive players in NFL history.
Chadiha goes all in on Suh and the Lions, chastising the player for not showing up and chastising the team for not forcing him to come: “What nobody was willing to say is what is plainly obvious to anybody watching this situation: It says plenty that Suh chose to not attend these workouts. Even if he’s getting into phenomenal shape on his own, this was the first opportunity that [head coach] Jim Caldwell and his assistants had to educate their players on the team’s new offensive and defensive schemes. If Suh wasn’t crazy about the team’s philosophies on strength and conditioning, he could’ve seen the upside in that. These are the types of gestures that leaders make in order to foster a winning atmosphere.”
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Players regularly choose to work out on their own, especially players who are in negotiations over their contract. But, as Chadiha points out, with a new coaching staff and Suh’s reputation, it was a chance for Suh to curry favor with the team.
So, do you think that Suh should have been with his team for its voluntary offseason program? Or does it even matter? Let us know your opinion in the comment section below.