Ndamukong Suh will not attend the Lions’ voluntary minicamp this week, according to the Associated Press (citing an unnamed source). The source, said to be “familiar with the situation,” adds that Suh does plan to attend the team’s voluntary workouts and mandatory minicamp next month.
Because the Lions have a new head coach, Jim Caldwell, they were able to begin Phase 1 of voluntary offseason workouts two weeks ago. Phase 1 activities are limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation, and although coaches are not permitted on the field or in the weight room during Phase 1, they can conduct instructional sessions in meeting rooms. 19 of the 25 teams who do not have new head coaches began Phase 1 today, and the remaining six clubs will begin tomorrow.
Suh has not shown up to team facilities since the Lions were first permitted to conduct offseason workouts on April 7, and while the absence of veteran players from these types of voluntary activities often means nothing, particularly when a well-established veteran is the absentee, those absences sometimes take on increased significance under certain circumstances. Suh’s teammate, Lions RB Reggie Bush, noted several weeks ago that he believed Suh’s lack of participation was a “contract thing,” and he is probably right.
Suh is in the last year of his deal with the Lions, and he carries a $22.41MM cap hit in 2014. Team president Tom Lewand recently expressed optimism that the two sides would get an extension worked out, and such an extension would indubitably make Suh one of the highest-paid defensive players in league history. If these contract discussions do not get resolved by next month, it will be interesting to see if Suh does in fact participate in May’s voluntary workouts and mandatory minicamp as he currently suggests.