Last week, NFL V.P. of Football Operations Merton Hanks was the official who made the determination that Ravens safety Ed Reed deserved a suspension for his third flagrant helmet-to-helmet hit in the last three seasons, a determination that was later reversed on appeal. This week, it was Hanks who made the determination that Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh does not deserve a suspension for kicking Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin.
A league source tells PFT that Hanks determined that the play, on which Suh’s foot connected to Schaub’s groin as Suh was falling to the ground, was not flagrant enough to warrant a suspension.
The NFL hasn’t yet determined whether a fine will be handed down, but it was Hanks who made the preliminary determination that it wasn’t bad enough to suspend Suh. The league office generally holds off on any announcements about fines until late in the week, but suspensions are usually announced at the start of the week, both to give the player time for a quick appeal before he misses a game, and to give the team time to prepare for the player’s absence if the appeal is not successful.
Hanks was an NFL safety who played eight seasons for the 49ers and one for the Seahawks. Before he took a job in the league office that may lead some players to view him as a killjoy, he was known for the chicken dance, using one of the longest necks in the NFL to do one of the best celebrations in the NFL.