Not having won an NFL playoff game since defeating the Cowboys 23 years ago, the Detroit Lions might very well keep that streak alive now that their best player Ndamukong Suh earned a suspension for committing a “non-football act,” on quarterback Aaron Rodgers’s leg in Sunday’s contest with the Packers.
A release from the NFL on Monday stated that:
In the fourth quarter with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the ground in a defenseless posture, Suh backed up and stepped on Rodgers’ left leg with his right foot. He then stepped on Rodgers’ left leg again, this time with his left foot, applying pressure and unnecessarily pushing off Rodgers’ unprotected leg with his left foot, violating playing rules prohibiting unnecessary roughness.
Rodgers entered the game with a calf injury, which kept him off the field for a period during the game. ESPN has reported that Suh is appealing the suspension, and his appeal will be heard by former NFL defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell.
Teammates came to Suh’s defense, including controversial center Dominic Raiola, himself suspended for Sunday’s game for stomping on an opponent, who insists that the 2010 second overall pick in the NFL draft was “just getting pushed back” and would never jeopardize a game with an intentional violation.
Lions safety James Ihedigbo said that Suh was indispensable to the Lions, “He’s a dominant force in our defense. He’s kind of the key centerpiece. We have faith in guys that can step up and fill that void and do the best job they can to get this win and help us out…. You’re losing one of your best defensive players and one of the best D-linemen in the league, it’s unfortunate.”
The former Nebraska Cornhusker is no stranger to penalties for dirty play and personal foul violations. In 2011 Suh was suspended for a couple of games for stomping on the arm of then-Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith. In 2012, he kicked Matt Schaub, then playing quarterback for the Houston Texans, in the groin. In his 2013 season he had to tap his checking account for $100,000 to pay a league fine for an illegal low block on Minnesota center John Sullivan.