When Cam Newton was at Auburn, the defense basically consisted of giving up a lot of yards and points until Nick Fairley injured the opposing quarterback. He then formed the interior defensive line of the Lions with Ndamukong Suh, who has roughed up the Bengals’ Andy Dalton, Bears’ Jay Cutler, Browns’ Jake Delhomme, Packers’ Evan Dietrich-Smith and Texans’ Matt Schaub. The duo is effective, but hated by many opponents.
What is a reputation worth to you? It is hard to believe Suh’s low block on a turnover return Sunday would have resulted in $100,000 fine if he did not have a history of those hits, the worst of which were stomping on Dietrich-Smith and appearing to try to kick Schaum in the groin area.
Fairley’s worst offenses in Auburn’s national championship run occurred when he speared Georgia’s Aaron Murray in the back, then hit him in the knee to knock him out of the game. Those cheap shots may have resulted in a quick whistle on Fairley that saved Alabama from having to punt early in the Iron Bowl. Later in that game Fairley made one of his most dominant clean plays of the season when he stripped the ball, then circled Alabama players in a crabbing motion to recover the loose ball in Auburn’s amazing comeback in Tuscaloosa.
Both were considered potential No. 1 picks in the entire draft at one point.
With Reggie Bush completing the Lions offense, the insider presence of Fairley and Suh could dominate many an opponent and make the Lions a contender. However, the NFL may have sent a message with Tuesday’s $100,000 fine on Suh that the two are not going to be given the benefit of the doubt if opposing players get injured in the future.