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Published: Wednesday, 9/11/2013

Suh appeals, won’t back down in style

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Suh Suh
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ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh says he isn't going to change what he does on the field.

He's appealing his latest fine, too.

Suh was fined $100,000 for an illegal block on a Minnesota Vikings player in the Detroit Lions' season-opening win last weekend. It is the NFL's biggest monetary fine for on-field conduct, not including the dollars lost by players due to suspensions.

"It's going through the appeals process," Suh said Wednesday.

Suh's agent, Roosevelt Barnes, said he expects the appeal to be heard later this week, when he hopes to provide another perspective to reduce his client's fine.

"Everyone is talking about how Ndamukong shouldn't have blocked the 300-pound lineman because there was no way he was going to catch a linebacker," Barnes said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. "If that's the case, the lineman should've known he wasn't going to catch the linebacker. But the lineman did attempt to catch the linebacker and Ndamukong attempted to block him. But everyone wants to make Ndamukong out to be a villain."

Suh vowed that he's not going to change his ways on the field, including when Detroit (1-0) goes on the road to play the Arizona Cardinals (0-1) on Sunday.

"I'm going to continue to play hard, blue-collar football," he said.

Suh's reputation for playing with a nasty streak started in 2010 when he had an NFL-high five personal fouls. The next season, he seemed to cement the perception when he stepped on the right arm of Green Bay's Evan Dietrich-Smith in a nationally televised game on Thanksgiving and ended the season with four personal fouls, tied for sixth in the league.

Since the league suspended Suh for two games — costing him $165,294 — for the stomp, the frequency in which he as called for major penalties has sharply decreased.

Since Suh returned from the suspension during the 2011 season, he has been called for two personal fouls in a 20-game span while 42 NFL players have been called for more personal fouls, according to STATS. He was tied for 105th in the league with one personal foul penalty last year, STATS said, and was one of 41 players flagged for a person foul in Week 1 this season.

Suh said only the league, whose officials have declined comment about Suh's fine, would be able to say whether his reputation led to the hefty blow.

Lions receiver Nate Burleson, though, said there's no doubt.

"Once you put yourself in a position where the microscope is on you, minor mistakes become major every single time," Burleson said. "He mentioned it when he talked to us, 'There's a target on my back, and rightfully so, but because of that, I have to be aware of it and as we a team, we have to be aware of it.' ...

"There's a perception that Detroit football players are a little rough around the edges."

Suh apologized to the player he hit, Vikings center John Sullivan, on Sunday during the game.

"Player safety, it's a league concern and you got to only respect it," he said. "That's one of the reasons why I spoke to Sullivan as we walked into halftime. He understood where I was coming from, no hard feelings."

Suh also expressed remorse to teammates for his penalty that negated a touchdown on the interception return.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said Suh's apology was "a step in the right direction."

"He played the rest of the game and it got overshadowed by a stupid play that cost not only him, but our team, and he knows that," Stafford said. "We can't have that. "

Police in Birmingham, Mich. cleared Suh of any charges for waving a pellet gun in front of a cable company worker attempting repairs to a line on the player's property.

Authorities say the cable worker thought the gun looked like an assault rifle and feared for his safety. They say Suh told them he feared for his family and said he'd be even more aggressive protecting them than he is on the football field.

Police say the confrontation happened Aug. 16. Police say Suh didn't point the weapon at the Comcast employee but waived it around.



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