With Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh entering the final year of his rookie contract, every twist and turn in the relationship between player and team serves as a potential clue regarding the future.
When it comes to Suh’s failure to show up for much of the Detroit offseason program in Jim Caldwell’s first year as head coach, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft says not much should be read into his decision to not be around.
“I’m there when everyone reports,” Suh told John Canzano of the Oregonian. “I like being in my own niche and by myself. I have my trainers here [in Portland]. I get 1-on-1 attention. I have every ounce of this campus to myself. My coaches have been here. I’ve probably talked with our head coach more than just about any player on the team.”
Talking to the coach is one thing. Emerging as a leader on a team devoid of many is another. But if Caldwell hopes Suh to step up and hold others accountable, Caldwell may not want to hold his breath or any other bodily function.
“I’m naturally an introvert,” Suh said. “I’ve always been kind of to myself, and in my own world. I have a small group of friends. I’ve always been that way. I’ve always been super quiet. I like to be that way.”
The interview with Canzano doesn’t address whether Suh likes to be a Lion, and more importantly whether he’ll remain a Lion beyond 2014. With a cap number north of $22 million, the Lions won’t use the franchise tag next year, since keeping him for 2015 would exceed $26 million. Without a new contract, he’ll hit the open market in March.
Which means that the introvert could be exporting himself to a new team.