Discussing his $20,000 fine for slamming Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to the ground, Suh said the things he does on the field look worse than they are because referees aren’t accustomed to seeing players as strong as he is.
“Honestly, I really feel that I put the refs in a tough situation because of my strength,” Suh said.
That might sound like bragging, but there’s a lot of truth to it: Suh is such a powerful athlete that his hits probably look a lot more violent to us mere mortals than they feel to him. That was the case last year when Suh was flagged and fined for a hit on Jay Cutler: Suh brought so much force to the hit that it looked violent, but he appeared to shove Cutler in the back of the shoulder pads, which is legal.
But just because Suh is capable of slamming the 215-pound Dalton to the ground with ease doesn’t mean he should be allowed to do it. That hit definitely deserved a flag and a fine.
Suh says he recognizes the importance of protecting players from illegal hits, but he also says it’s important for the NFL to remember that there are going to be big hits in the NFL as long as big guys like him are playing.
“A lot of us players growing up and coming in, we’re getting faster, stronger, and some guys just have incredible strength on that football field,” Suh said. “So I feel like we put them in tough situations, and with the new rules and the different situation of safety — which definitely should be something that should be applied on both sides of the ball — we definitely put them in tough situations, so they have to make the right judgment. I’m not going to fault them for making a call that they’re erring on the safer side, because safety is important. It’s important for myself, it’s important for a quarterback, it’s important for every last 22 players on the football field.”
Suh said he will appeal the $20,000 fine, and he said no fine will change the way he plays.
“I’m never going to put myself in a situation where I can allow a play to affect my team because I didn’t follow through on my job,” Suh said. “So I’m not going to stop playing hard. Like I said before, I owe it to my fans, I owe it to my teammates, I owe it to the coaches, and I owe it to the fans, first and foremost. That’s the reason why they watch the game. It’s one of the reasons football is football.”