Lions rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh grabbed Jake Delhomme’s face mask, twisted it, wrapped his arms around the Browns quarterback’s head and slammed him to the ground.
It was hard to watch – in real time or instant replay.
The Browns hope the NFL looks at it again.
Cleveland coach Eric Mangini expects the league to review Suh’s rough treatment of Delhomme in Saturday’s exhibition game in Detroit.
In the second quarter, Delhomme was scrambling out of the pocket when he was grabbed by Suh, the No. 2 overall pick in April’s draft. Suh flung the 35-year-old to the ground, and Delhomme got up waving his arms in protest. Suh was assessed a 15-yard penalty for the infraction, which seemed severe enough to warrant an ejection.
Mangini said at his news conference Monday that he will ask the league to investigate the play, but he assumed it would do so anyway.
League spokesman Gregg Aiello said in an e-mail the play was being reviewed.
”I was just going after the ball, and I had no clue that he had gotten rid of it,” Suh said. ”I don’t know what to expect from the league. I’ve gotten personal fouls before, but that was in college, and they can’t fine you there.”
Browns backup quarterback Seneca Wallace called for Suh to be suspended, but one of Suh’s veteran teammates thought that was an overreaction.
”It definitely is,” Kyle Vanden Bosch said. ”I asked him what happened, and he said he thought Delhomme still had the ball. We’re going after the quarterback and trying to make a play, and sometimes you make a mistake, but he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone.”
Mangini does not believe there was any intent on the part of Suh, the former Nebraska standout, to injure Delhomme. Mangini was impressed with Suh during Cleveland’s predraft evaluations.
”When I met the kid, he was a good kid,” Mangini said. ”I don’t think he’s a malicious guy, from what I know about him. It was just a poor decision.”
Mangini would not say if he felt Suh should have been ejected.
”It put the quarterback at risk, but I’m not the official,” Mangini said. ”You don’t want to see that at any point, but my experience with him in the draft process is that he’s a good kid and it was just not a great decision.”
Delhomme, too, said he would leave any discipline up to others.
”I’ll let the league office handle that,” Delhomme said with a smile. ”We got a first down out of it and that made me happy.”