ALLEN PARK, Mich. — You can suspend him. You can fine him. You can verbally attack him with anonymous quotes.
But Ndamukong Suh, the controversial defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions, vows that he’s going to keep doing things his way.
Hall of Fame defensive tackle Mean Joe Green recently came out in support of the way that Suh plays the game. Greene told Suh not to change.
“He definitely has my word that I’m not changing my game,” Suh said Wednesday afternoon following an off-season practice. “Obviously, got to be smart, but I will not change my game.”
Suh got suspended for two games in 2011 for The Stomp, when he stomped on Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith with his foot.
Suh then got fined $30,000 last season for The Kick, when he kicked Houston quarterback Matt Shaub in the groin.
Despite seemingly endless criticism that’s directed at Suh, calling him a dirty player, Greene had only praise for him during an interview with the Detroit Free Press a couple of weeks ago.
“He is a powerful man,” Greene said. “Unfortunately for him is that he’s letting some of his notoriety and publicity get in his head a little bit. By that I mean it changes the way he approaches the game, cause if he changes that, he’s not Ndamukong anymore. And you need an edge to play in the pit. Anybody that talks about what you shouldn’t do hasn’t been in there.
“I think you have to play the game the way he does, but not go over the edge. A couple times he went over the edge, and he shouldn’t be afraid of that.”
Greene added, “He can’t let other voices dictate how he plays.”
Suh, who is used to having to respond to his many critics, smiled when asked about the kind words from the former Pittsburgh Steelers’ great.
“I did see those comments,” Suh said. “They are definitely appreciated, coming from a legend of his caliber and somebody I definitely looked up to growing up in this game. It definitely means a lot.
“I’ve had some good conversations with Joe Greene. He’s definitely a teacher.”
So, yes, the pupil plans to keep on doing what he’s doing, regardless of who doesn’t like it. IT AIN’T BRAGGING IF …
Suh also said he’s motivated to live up to teammate Nick Fairley’s words that they will combine to be the league’s top duo at defensive tackle.
“That’s a great challenge and it’s something I’m definitely up for,” Suh said. “It’s something that he felt in his heart that we can be. I’m going to be there to work alongside him. We’ve, in essence, put a target on our back. I’ve had a target on my back since I was a rookie. So I’m excited for it.”
Lions coach Jim Schwartz, on the addition of retired offensive tackle Jeff Backus as a coaching intern to help mentor the team’s young linemen: “He’s not here every day. But football’s important to him. When you do something for so long, it’s hard just to turn it off. We welcome him whenever he has a chance to be around. We think that wisdom that he’s gained over all those years can help younger guys.”
Running back Mikel Leshoure didn’t practice for the second straight week because of a nagging hamstring injury. Rookie defensive end Devin Taylor, a fourth-round draft pick, also missed Wednesday because of a hamstring problem.