The question of whether Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is a dirty player came up long before his stomp on an opponent caused the NFL to step in with a two-game suspension, but until that Thanksgiving incident, the Lions largely defended Suh against any criticism along those lines.
In hindsight, Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew says he thinks the team could have acted sooner.
“It’s funny how things go,” Mayhew said on 790-AM in Atlanta, via the Detroit Free Press. “I think, early on, he had a couple of borderline sort of plays and, looking back on it, probably not enough people talked to him in those situations.”
But Mayhew says that he’s confident now that Suh’s head is on straight.
“Ndamukong’s a very, very intelligent person, intelligent football player,” Mayhew said. “He has a really solid foundation. Great family, great network of support around him. And he’s going to come through this thing. He’s actually come through it, as far as I’ve seen. He came back with a great attitude, played great down the stretch, and we’re going to put this behind him and move forward next year.”
For the Lions, a bigger issue with Suh may be his production on the field: His sack total declined from 10 as a rookie to four in his second season. But Mayhew said he believes Suh is still an elite defensive tackle.
“He didn’t have some of those splash plays that he had last year, but he played pretty solid and very consistently throughout the season,” Mayhew told MLive.com. “I was happy with him. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody else.”