WEDNESDAY, 9:23am: While it may just be a matter of semantics, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello clarified today (via Twitter) that Suh didn’t win his appeal, and that Cottrell didn’t accept his excuse for the incident. Rather, the arbitrator made the decision that a $70K fine was a more appropriate penalty than a one-game suspension.
TUESDAY, 4:23pm: Suh has won his appeal, with Cottrell overturning the suspension and hitting the Lions defender with a $70K fine instead, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Suh will now be permitted to play against the Cowboys this weekend.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (via Twitter), the league knew there was a real possibility of the one-game ban being overturned, but wanted to send a strong message about unnecessary contact.
MONDAY, 1:49pm: Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been suspended one game for stepping on the leg of quarterback Aaron Rodgers during Detroit’s loss in Green Bay on Sunday, reports Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link via Ashoka Moore). The league has since confirmed the one-game penalty without pay.
Suh will almost certainly appeal the one-game ban, and when he does, the hearing officer will be Ted Cottrell, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It seems unlikely that the suspension will be overturned though, particularly given Suh’s history of on-field incidents, so the Lions will have to prepare to be without their best defensive player for next weekend’s Wild Card playoff game in Dallas.
If Suh’s suspension is upheld and the Lions are eliminated from the playoffs by the Cowboys, the standout defensive lineman may very well have played his last game in Detroit. Facing free agency this offseason, Suh hasn’t expressed strong interest in re-signing with the team, and his massive 2014 cap number makes him a difficult player to franchise. Additionally, the Lions certainly won’t be happy with Suh’s latest transgression, which will ensure that the club is shorthanded at the worst possible time.
Earlier in December, I examined the Lions’ options for handling Suh’s looming free agency.