Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was reportedly a problem within Detroit’s locker room last season, and getting Suh under control may be among the biggest tasks for new head coach Jim Caldwell.
Heath Evans, the former NFL fullback who now serves as an analyst for NFL Network, says three players on the Lions told him when he was working Lions games last season that Suh was a major headache.
“The consistent message that came out of there is that Suh was uncontrollable and that he would constantly do things to kind of show his power over Jim Schwartz, whether it was team meetings, showing up late, or whatever it may be,” Evans told of 105.1 FM, via the Detroit Free Press. “When you don’t put players in line, I don’t care how great they are.”
Evans says Suh has an air about him that he’s above everyone else.
“The bottom line is he would just do things, whether it was showing up for a meeting late, or little different antics to kind of let the team know … it was more or less Suh just trying to show his dominance, his power,” Evans said. “That he was basically untouchable and he could basically do what he wanted to do.”
Evans’s comments may need to be taken with a grain of salt for a couple reasons. For one, Evans doesn’t have a track record of breaking news about the Lions, so we’re not sure just how reliable his reporting is here. For another, Evans does have a track record of backtracking when his inflammatory statements are called into question.
Still, this isn’t the first time reports have surfaced that Suh’s issues go beyond the well-publicized incidents like stomping on Evan Dietrich-Smith and kicking Matt Schaub in the groin. Which raises some tough questions about whether the Lions should want Suh to be a major part of their franchise going forward. As a No. 2 overall pick from the days before the current rookie salary structure, Suh has an enormous cap hit: He’ll count $22.4 million against the Lions’ salary cap this year. As a result, there’s been talk that the Lions will try to lock Suh up to a long-term contract that provides some immediate cap relief. Suh has undeniable talent, but if he’s a problem in the locker room, the Lions might be better off investing elsewhere.