Last week, Lions coach Jim Schwartz and linebacker Stephen Tulloch each shared their thoughts about how defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh fit as a leader on the team in 2013.
Tulloch thought Suh’s personality wasn’t that of a vocal leader who could rally the troops with his words while Schwartz thinks Suh has “embraced” the chance to be just that kind of leader for the Lions. Suh answered some questions about leadership on Wednesday in Detroit and his thoughts split the difference. He agrees that he’s on the quieter side, but doesn’t believe that makes him less of a leader for the team.
“I’m quiet in my own ways. When I feel the need to speak up, and it’s important, when I have something on my mind, I think anybody who knows me, and my coaches definitely know, I’m not afraid to speak up,” Suh said, via the Lions website. “Leadership is something that just comes along as it goes. You don’t want to force it. You don’t want to push yourself on being a leader because, usually, that becomes a rebellion-type thing. You let it come as it goes and just let it be natural. I definitely feel I’m a leader. I led a Nebraska team to some good games and some good championships. It’s been fun. I think I’ve had good work. My past has had some good leadership stuff.”
Suh has two years left on his current deal and a cap number of more than $21 million in 2014, which makes him a strong candidate for an extension after next season in order to clear up some cap space for the Lions in the coming years. If he proves to be the leader the team wants him to be, such an extension would be a much easier call to make. If he doesn’t and the Lions slump to another losing season, there could changes higher up on the leadership ladder that leave Suh’s Detroit future in less certain waters.