On Tuesday, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh made his first appearance of the year at his team’s offseason workouts, after skipping the first two phases of the program and also not showing up for the first voluntary minicamp of the Jim Caldwell regime.
Caldwell and at least one of Suh’s teammates expressed no concerns about the player’s past absences.
“I don’t understand why that would even come up as an issue,” Caldwell said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “He didn’t do anything wrong, he didn’t break any rules. It’s all voluntary. I don’t think it makes much sense.”
While it was wise for Caldwell to not say or do anything to suggest that the sessions aren’t voluntary, it’s hard to digest the notion that there should be no concern over Suh boycotting the opportunity to get to know the new coach and his staff and to prepare in a structured setting for a contract year (unless he’s extended). Of course there should be concern, and of course the concern should make sense.
Defensive tackle C.J. Mosley agreed with Caldwell’s assessment.
“We’re talking about Suh here, and in all my years there’s never been a guy who’s been more professional about his job,” Mosley said, via Birkett. “That’s the last person you need to worry about.”
Still, with limited opportunities in the offseason for players and coaches to work together and a new coach in town and Suh hoping to get a contract that pays him a lot of money and the Lions hoping to chop down a cap number that exceeds $22 million, Suh arguably should have have treated the 2014 offseason the same way that virtually every other player on every other team has treated the offseason program — but showing up for it.