Ndamukong Suh is the Detroit Lions best defensive player. So why haven’t most of the devoted Lions fans embraced him?
It is a conundrum.
On the field Suh is all of that. He’s been voted to the Pro Bowl three of his four seasons. He’s been double-teamed since his first preseason game. He can dominate inside, although he can play out of control at times.
Off the field, questions abound. It seemed Suh turned the corner prior to the 2013 season when his teammates voted him a defensive captain.
Yes, it was voluntary. But all the veteran leaders were in attendance as expected.
Still, no Suh.
Fan reaction, for the most part, involved two words: Trade him.
Oddly enough, the handful of players who were made available to talk to the media said they had not talked to Suh. Even Stephen Tulloch who was a defensive captain too.
Coach Jim Caldwell has made it clear he would like to work as much with each single player as possible. That includes Suh.
Yes, Suh and the Lions are working on an extension, but he is under contract through 2014.
Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report wrote Friday that the Lions have asked around about what they could get in return for Suh. That is basically due diligence in case negotiations blow up and a deal can't get done.
Team president Tom Lewand has been adamant that the Lions want to extend Suh’s contract. Last season they extended Matthew Stafford. It wasn’t complete until early July, but the quarterback didn’t miss a workout.
Everyone agrees that when Suh does show up, he’ll be in excellent shape. No reason to doubt that. If he doesn't want to continue to play in Detroit, it seems like that he would want to show other teams he's a good citizen by attending all offseason programs. This absence doe not make him attractive to other NFL coaches.
Football is a team game.
Caldwell is trying to create a family atmosphere where the players will all trust and fight for each other.
A key member of the family is missing.