League upholds Suh's suspension

December 2, 2011

The suspension stands, and that means Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will sit out the next two games for stomping an opponent during a loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Suh's appeal of the suspension handed out earlier this week was denied Friday by Art Shell, jointly appointed by the NFL and the players' association to hear such cases. Suh will miss Sunday's game at New Orleans and a Dec. 11 home game against Minnesota. He can return for practice on Dec. 12.

The 2010 Defensive Rookie of the Year was penalized and ejected from the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Packers for stomping on the arm of guard Evan Dietrich-Smith. On Tuesday, the league suspended Suh and the player appealed.

Shell, however, saw no merits to the appeal during a conference call with Suh on Thursday.

Lions president Tom Lewand issued a statement saying the club respects the disciplinary process and added ''obviously, today's ruling does not impact our preparations for this week's game. We remain exclusively focused on the New Orleans Saints.''

Usually, a hearing is held within 10 days of an appeal, but the league expedited Suh's high-profile case so a decision could be made before Sunday's game.

Suh is barred from practice and the team's facility while suspended.

Early last month, Suh requested and was granted a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his play after he drew several penalties and fines. Suh said he had a better understanding of the rules after that meeting.

On Sunday, with it becoming apparent he would be disciplined again, Suh called Goodell to apologize.

In the game against the Packers, Suh lifted up his right knee and forcibly stepped on Dietrich-Smith's right arm during the third quarter of the Lions' 27-15 loss. Before the stomp, Suh shoved Dietrich-Smith's helmet toward the turf while separating himself from the Packers player on the ground.

He was penalized and ejected.

Asked about the incident after the game, Suh sounded defiant, insisting he didn't intentionally step on Dietrich-Smith. A day later, following criticism from the Lions, Suh apologized to his teammates, organization and fans - not to Dietrich-Smith.

His actions prompted more criticism around the league, with some calling Suh the NFL's dirtiest player.

Suh can afford any fines - he is making $40 million guaranteed with a chance to get paid as much as $68 million in a five-year contract he signed after Detroit drafted him No. 2 overall in 2010.