But in early November, Suh appeared to be making the transition from a straight-up bad guy to a player who could learn from his actions and play fierce without necessarily raising eyebrows.
Suh sat down for an interview with ESPN The Magazine for an issue due out Dec. 10. He talked about how his game has developed, especially after a controversial foot-stomping incident last Thanksgiving. In the interview, which took place Nov. 13, Suh was reflective on how he has grown since the widely criticized moment.
“I definitely understand how to channel my aggression in a productive way,” he told ESPN The Magazine. “There are many reasons. One is I went through that situation last Thanksgiving. But also, any man, any child, grows up. You learn from your mistakes or you go backward. I’m the kind of person who wants to move forward.”
The only catch is that the way Suh has moved forward hasn’t exactly been different from what got him in trouble in the first place. On Thanksgiving 2011, Suh attracted ire when he went over the line with Green Bay lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. Suh slammed Dietrich-Smith’s head to the ground, then stepped on Dietrich-Smith as he moved to get up. That wasn’t the last controversial incident, either — Suh has since put the hurt on Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler and racked up a decent list of questionable moves.
He capped that off this Thanksgiving, of course, with a little tumble on the ground against the Texans that coincidentally or not sent his foot right into Houston quarterback Matt Schaub‘s groin.
Suh’s interview with the magazine will now be read through the light of what happened on this Thanksgiving, which is now being seen as more of the same.
While Suh’s words seem farcical considering what happened this Thanksgiving, though, Suh’s talk of growth earlier this month didn’t necessarily mean he was being contrite.
“My fire is still there,” he said in the interview. “And when I get a full opportunity to unleash my fire, it’s like the hit I put on Cutler. By no means am I trying to hurt him, but I am going 100 mph and trying to get him as quickly and as hard down to the ground as possible. That’s the way I show my dominance, and I am going to continue to do that. If that situation happens again with Cutler, I’m gonna hit him the same way, if not harder.”
Suh also said he doesn’t care if he gets called the NFL’s dirtiest player, saying he’ll “do anything and everything within the lines to win.”
But Suh did say he has changed the way he’s played since the Thanksgiving 2011 situation, being more aware of the people watching. He was remorseful about the incident.
“It was definitely an embarrassing moment for our fans, and it was for me and my family,” he said. “It’s something that will always be part of the Lions, because I’m part of the Lions. It’s something I will have to live with my entire life.
“But it was something you just have to grow from. I have grown tremendously from it. And it will never happen again.”
No, that exact incident has not happened again.
Photo via Facebook/Planet927