Suh says he’s not a dirty player


After Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh roughed up Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the preseason opener, I asked whether Suh is a dirty player.

Unsurprisingly, Suh says he’s not.

“There’s always a fine line between dirtiness and aggressiveness,” Suh said. “I know to this point, in my own heart, I haven’t crossed that line by any means.”

Suh was fined twice last year, for hits on Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, and he’ll likely be fined for his hit on Dalton. Lions veteran defensive tackle Corey Williams said he’s worried that Suh may be in the crosshairs of the league office.

“They are going to have it out for him now,” Williams said.

But Suh plans to keep playing the way he’s been playing.

“It’s the reason people play football; aggression is the name of the sport,” Suh said. “It means being violent and being very aggressive and getting after the quarterback. That’s what you are known for. That’s what you do. If you didn’t do that then I don’t think you’d be playing football in the NFL. . . . That’s the way I’ve been taught and that’s the way I will continue to play.”

84 responses to “Suh says he’s not a dirty player

  1. I’m probably the only person in the world, but even up to this day, I still wish the Rams drafted Suh and Colt McCoy. 🙁

  2. His play defines “dirty player”. Hitting people is one thing, trying to tear their helmets off while on the ground, adding excess on the way to the ground, jumping on top of them, etc., IS dirty playing.

    Other guys can certainly do that stuff too, but they don’t because it is not within the rules of the game.

  3. The Cutler hit last year was bull starting with the penalty and ending with the fine. It was a legal hit.

  4. “aggression is the name of the sport,” Suh said…
    as he continued to pummel the poor ginger Dalton days after the game was over.

    Williams comment just shows how the ignorant players are already complaining.

  5. Later Suh was seen driving his Gumball Rally car over Dalton in the local supermarket parking lot just to make sure he got him.

  6. Any player who needs to say publicly that he’s not a dirty player knows there is already sufficient that he is.

  7. Be violent, be aggressive, but once you get that quarterback in your arms there is no need to break their skull. You’re right, this is the NFL, but keep in mind it’s a game, not a war.

  8. James Harrison hits people hard, and they put their own head down for some stupid reason, and Harrison earns the rep for being dirty.

    Suh hits people hard, piles on, tries to rip helmets off, etc., yet we are to believe he is not dirty.

    Guess it depends on how big a threat your team is to the all mighty Belichick.

  9. Dirty?. He plays hard between the snap and the whistle. The hit on Cutler was 2-hand touch and never should have resulted in a fine in the first place. The guy is athletic and plays violent on the field. It’s part of the game. Granted he could stand to temper his enthusiasm just a bit before he unscrews someones head right off, but frankly I think its refreshing to see someone play the game with passion and be bold enough to say flatly to Goddell that thats how I play and I’m going to keep doing it.

  10. yea, sure you aren’t. In other news plexico has good aim, Big-Ben has never been in a bathroom with a woman and T.O. is a good teammate…

    Haynesworth is a bad role model Suh, quit it…

  11. Ahhh, I see what he did there.

    Hitler says he’s not a racist genocidal madman, he just has an aggressive mistrust of those of Hebrew descent.

    Young and dumb.

    His reasoning would have made sense 30 years ago, but in todays “40-million guaranteed” NFL, alot more people than Goodell (owners) want players to ease off trying to hospitalize each other.

  12. I can’t wait for the offensive lineman to start playing aggressive and take this guys knee out.

  13. He needs to be ejected the next time he pulls something like that… if not, the offensive linemen should show Suh how “aggressive” they can be.

  14. Like I said before… Suh thinks this is cute. But when the opposing team goes after Stafford in retaliation and knocks him out of the game again I don’t want hear any complaining…

    Suh needs to remember he is not the only big tough guy on the field. I think it’s just a matter of time before O-Lineman start cutting Suh right at the snap of the ball. Take out his knees, it’s a legal play between the tackles…

  15. Stuff like this really bugs me. Not only has the NFL gone soft but so have the fans. The term “dirty player” refers to someone who cheats just enough to get away with it. I’m a Dolphins fans, & Richie In cognito is a dirty player. He holds, trips, pokes eyes, etc. That stuff is “dirty”. Hitting someone to hard is called being an elite defensive player. When guys like Suh & James Harrison get called dirty its so unfair to them. Not only do the people saying it not fully understand what they are saying, but it gives them a negative imagine when really it’s the league that is wrong. Any defensive player can’t be a “dirty player” for hitting or tackling someone unless it is CLEARLY a late hit. This crap is making QBs & Goodell sound like Lawrence Thynes for christ sake. ( Not sure if I spelled his name right)

  16. …or maybe defensive lineman from other teams should follow Suh’s example and throw that china doll Stafford around a little bit, would Suh be okay with that?

  17. When you play AFTER the whistle and AFTER the ball has been thrown, it is dirty (and stupid). His argument is that he’s “playing the ball”, yet the ball was gone for 2-3 seconds BEFORE he slammed Dalton to the ground by the head. He must be confused between the QB’s HEAD and the BALL.

  18. Suh shouldn’t apologize for anything, I’ll do it for him, “I’m sorry that Ndamukong Suh is a beast and is too strong for your team, maybe a triple team will slow him down”

  19. I guess some people are not watching the same film I watched…Dalton needs to buy a helmet that fits,it just popped off when Suh grabbed him,he probably shouldn’t have slammed him down on his head though and bearsfan your GM last year said Suh was dirty then your Center said Suh was not dirty in the lockerroom after the game…does that center still play on dabears?

  20. I hope he don’t think its dirty when he gets chop blocked and his knees taken out for a season.

    After all It just means the O-line is being violent and being very aggressive. Nothing personal Mr. Cheap Shot.

  21. @burnzy32…

    I know what will slow down Suh… Legal cut blocking right off the line of scrimmage. Most NFL players do not cut block because of mutual respect for each other. However cut blocking is legal in NFL rule book. So if Suh keeps it up, I bet he will change his tune real fast when other teams start targeting his knees. I wonder how long of a career he will have after that happens.

  22. As a Viking fan I hate the fact that my team has to line up against him twice a year he’s an absolute and beast on the line (and I’m not ignorant enough to recognize when my division rival has a great player on their hands) . Now all of a sudden if you play tough football you’re a dirty player? Players might as well play without pads because if they breed too much contact and tough style of football they’re are dirty players. Wait I forgot..THIS IS FOOTBALL if you don’t like it turn on baseball, Suh’s job is to crush opposing teams quarterback/rb and anyone in his way to either of those players and he’s damn good at it too. Detroit, congrats you got a great player for a long time I’m truly envious but you guys deserve it. Dirty no Great yes.

  23. The helmet should never have come off. Not his fault that it did.

    Cutler fine was BS. Delhomme and Dalton hots he went a little far and deserves a fine for them. Can’t toss them like a rag doll even tho its hilarious to watch

    That being said, I’d give anything to have him on my team. Glad I have Sunday ticket so I can watch suh destroy people this year

  24. Suh shouldn’t apologize for anything, I’ll do it for him, “I’m sorry that Ndamukong Suh is a beast and is too strong for your team, maybe a triple team will slow him down”


    Too strong huh? Notice Suh has had at least 75 pounds on every player he has body slammed or hit hard. In Dalton’s case, its more like 100 pounds. After the play Andre Smith hit him gently to tell him thats not ok and it knocked Suh back 3 feet, hes a big man against people in a different weight class. The Bengals guards are terrible, its nothing special getting past them.

  25. I think it is too early to call suh a dirty player this is just his second year in the league so he has to get use to the switch to business rules from football rules. Now james harrison is a dirty player the hit on the browns player last year after he dropped the ball and the whistle blew is not football that was a steroid freak having roid rage. Steeler fans thumb down and bash this post……..NOW

  26. I’m a huge Cutler fan and I didn’t think his hit was bad. Watching it live, I can see how the refs may have thought that. I can understand the flag but not the fine. Once it was replayed, it should have been left alone.

    His latest one seemed a little over the top though. This is football, and things like that are going to happen.

  27. I can’t wait until some gritty dirty lineman takes this punks knee out. He has done more than a couple of things which would label him a dirty player.

  28. Actually Bearsfan a cut block isn’t legal when a defensive player is engaged with another lineman. Seeing as how your awful line will have to double team Suh it would never be legal. I think someone is still butt hurt over their QB being pushed down too hard last season. Whiny bears fans.

  29. Suh didn’t “rip” anyones helmet off. It popped off. And if you watch a replay it seems that he actually didn’t know Dalton threw the ball. I am not saying I know what he saw but, watch it again.

    Looks like he grabs him from behind as he is throwing it. Then wraps his arms up, (as if he thinks he has the ball?) the helmet just pops off, it doesn’t seem like Suh seen that either. Then he takes him down. The worst thing you can do as a defender is have the QB and miss out on a sack. Suh was doing his job. If he is not going down, you put him down.

  30. davoider says: Aug 15, 2011 9:16 AM

    Too strong huh? Notice Suh has had at least 75 pounds on every player he has body slammed or hit hard. In Dalton’s case, its more like 100 pounds. After the play Andre Smith hit him gently to tell him thats not ok and it knocked Suh back 3 feet, hes a big man against people in a different weight class. The Bengals guards are terrible, its nothing special getting past them.


    did you not see the double team of Offensive Lineman (including the 345LB bobbie williams) that Suh had to BEAT TO GET TO THE ginger he has over 100lbs on?? lol You can’t argue that he’s assualting smaller men, when the men who are paid to protect the QB, that are in fact MUCH BIGGER than Suh can’t stop him.

    oh and Bearsfan – really asking for some bad karma with the patchwork offensive line you guys have to protect the cryer this year. Best of luck keeping him on the field.

  31. The Delhomme play was bad. The Dalton play looked bad. That’s two preseason hits. What are all these other plays that make him “dirty.”

  32. davoider says:
    Aug 15, 2011 9:16 AM

    Too strong huh? Notice Suh has had at least 75 pounds on every player he has body slammed or hit hard. In Dalton’s case, its more like 100 pounds. After the play Andre Smith hit him gently to tell him thats not ok and it knocked Suh back 3 feet, hes a big man against people in a different weight class. The Bengals guards are terrible, its nothing special getting past them.


    I guess it doesn’t take much strength to get through one or two guys who weigh as much or more than you in less than four seconds? I guess it doesn’t take much strength to play all 16 games in your rookie season and record 10 sacks as a defensive tackle, working against double teams most of the time? I guess it doesn’t take much strength to do all of that against some VERY good guards, as well as the lesser ones in the NFL?

    As for Andre Smith knocking Suh back three feet….check your prescription. Smith barely broke Ndamukong’s stride.

    Sucks that he’s not on your team, huh?

  33. Suh’s had two plays that were pretty late and probably could be considered dirty (both throwing down QB’s late during preseason). The Culter hit wasn’t dirty nor generally is Suh dirty.

  34. The hard hits are fine, but the “helmet twist” and extra throw to the ground are not part of the game.

    Yes he is aggressive, but he is also dirty. He’s only been in the league one year and he has 2-3 questionable hits already, not a good sign

    Also, where the *#$% did all of the Lions fans come from with all of these thumbs downs?

  35. Delhomme’s was dirty.
    Cutler’s wasn’t.
    Dalton’s was dirty.

    I’m skeptical that Lions fans would be this defensive if it was a DT from another team doing that to Stafford.

  36. Dirty, Agressive, it’s a fine line. Williams had it exactly right. Suh’s in the league’s crosshairs now.
    It will taake a suspension or a marginaly dirty hit on a top qb, Brady, Rodgers, for him to change at all.

  37. Suh is still young and is excited to be in the NFL. He’ll figure out where to draw the line with QBs.

    And shame on NFL fans acting like their QB is a fricking china doll. This is the NFL, sack up. Suh hasn’t injured any of these QBs that he’s made “dirty” plays on. The plays looked bad and you’re crying like little pansies.

    Of course, if I had Cutler as my QB i would be worried that he would take his ball and go home pouting after a play he didn’t like. So maybe Bears fans have an understandable gripe.

  38. I finally got to the see the hit… Yes it was a very dirty hit… Ball was well out of Dalton’s hands before Suh had even touched him… The ref was bending over to pick the ball up off the ground before Suh slammed him to the ground on his head.. plus its a preseason game no excuse in trying to hurt someone in practice… Is Suh a dirty player? I’m not sure haven’t seen him play enough to know but that was certainly a dirty hit… 50k should be enough but I’m hoping for more… Just disappointed whitworth didn’t smack him back for it…
    Jus sayin’

  39. Hope he doesn’t start letting up because jealous haters think he is “Dirty” He is a fun player to watch, other than week 1, i hope he knocks some more qb’s into next week.

  40. I don’t play dirty, the Lions are going 16-0 this year, and locker rooms aren’t talking about the second year player’s gratuitous hazing of a rookie QB during the first preseason game. Suh set the tone. Players were already paying attention to Suh. Now he’s marked.

  41. The reason most people say bad things about Suh is because he’s a serious threat to an opposing team. I would HATE to play against Suh too…not because he’s dirty, but because he changes the mindset of a QB.

    If you’re being rational, you would trade just about any defensive lineman on your team for Suh. Saying otherwise makes you come off as unintelligent and whiny.

  42. 15 yards … Ejection …… Fines …….

    When da Lions start losing games because of Suh’s “aggressive” play ……. Then the Lion Fans won’t be so thrilled with his style …… 15 yard penalties lead to loses ……

  43. Can someone please enlighten me on Suh’s track record as a dirty player? I’ll grant you Dalton’s pile driving and the whole Delhomme fiasco were dirty hits. That’s 2 dirty hits for a guy averging a sack every other game (assuming he’s sackless for his preseason career) and gets countless QB pressures. I’m not sure thats significant enough to call a guy dirty…

  44. Let’s take a look at a list of Suh’s “dirty” plays…

    On Cutler: He pushed him in the back. It looked like a penalty at full speed, but the replay showed it was 100% clean.

    On Marion Barber: He pulled him down by his hair, the refs gave him a personal foul for a horsecollar. The ref’s missed the call, it’s 100% clean and legal.

    On Delhomme: Suh facemasks Delhomme (which is a penalty) while Delhomme still has the ball. Then Delhomme does a backhanded, underhand pass. Suh thinks he still has the ball (because who throws a football like that?) and finishes the play by tackling him by his head…and there is no rule against that.

    On Dalton: Suh grabs him when he still has the ball, his helmet pops off (which is not Suh’s problem, nor did he do anything illegal to take it off). He then no looks it to a fullback’s feet, and Suh doesn’t know that (because who throws a football like that)…Suh then finishes the play by making what would be a legal tackle if Dalton still had the ball.

    The only thing about any of these plays that is slighlty dirty is the 2 hits on Delhomme and Dalton were a little late, but it is completely reasonable to see how Suh thinks they still have the ball

  45. After the last few years I can no longer tell what the NFL thinks “dirty” play is. It used to mean late hits, cheap shots and the obvious stuff, but now I see guys getting repeatedly fined for stuff that’s legal but looks bad on the replay or results in an injury.

    I’m not a huge Suh fan, so if they want to fine him into next week for truly illegal stuff, then great, but he should never have been fined for that Cutler hit last year. That was a legal play–watching it live it looked like a forearm shot to the head, but the replay clearly showed it was a shove to the back of the shoulder pads which is perfectly legal–but it was fined simply because it looked bad. That’s no way to run a league.

  46. Look, I’ll be honest…as a Lions fan, the Dalton play made me cringe when I saw it. It’s not something I would accept seeing done to our QB. But one or two plays over the course of a number of games doesn’t define someone as playing “dirty”. The Cutler hit and fine last year was a joke, and anyone who is objective knows that.

    Suh is a very aggressive and strong player. As a Lions fan I don’t want him to dial that back in fear of being fined or even penalized, because the psychological impact is more daunting than the physical. However, I’d like to see him develop a better awareness of when the ball is out of the QBs hands. When he grabbed Dalton, the ball had just left his hands. He needs to realize it’s gone. If he had taken him down immediately, it would have been different. The fact that Dalton’s helmet came off has nothing to do with it…the play continues regardless. Suh didn’t take his helmet off….his arms were around the shoulders.

  47. Seems pretty simple. Your opinion of whether Suh is a dirty player depends on one factor — if he plays for the team you root for or not.

  48. Suh is both fun to watch and a dirty player. Somebody will likely have to die before the knuckle-draggers realize that football isn’t the same thing as war.

  49. I get so tired of these types of posts. Who freakin cares?!

    The only thing that matters about any player at the end of the day is does he help you win football games? The only people that whine about a player being dirty, are the fans of the team that got beat by said “dirty player.”

    If you don’t want Suh beating up your QB, then figure out a way to keep him out of the backfield.

    I’d take Cortland Finnegan and Suh on my defense in a heartbeat. If you want to watch your team full of choir boys get beat week after week you go right ahead.

  50. “Muuuumm! That big kid just ripped the head off of Raggedy Andy and threw him on the ground!”.

  51. Obviously the vast majority here believe Suh is not a dirty player…..which he is NOT. The helmet flew off before Dalton was taken to the ground. If a QB doesn’t want to get taken down then they should get into the fetal position like a baby and Suh will tag them down. This is football isn’t it? Maybe the lineman should bulk up so they can actually block Suh; or cheat and try to cut block him like all the cry babies are calling for. The guy is a beast; a defensive tackle who can dominate any offensive lineman in the league……and only in his 2nd year. The Rams screwed up big time not taking him.

  52. Suh is an absolute Beast! No one in Detroit cried about Stafford taking any dirty hits resulting in injury. It’s apart of the game, GO LIONS!!

  53. Dirty or not, this guy now has a target on both of his ACLs. I love the violent part of his game – but dirt slamming a guy when he clearly doesn’t have the ball in his hands anymore (not even close) doesn’t make you good.

    You need to make it look like Boley did to Romo last year. THAT WAS AWESOME!

  54. “but dirt slamming a guy when he clearly doesn’t have the ball in his hands anymore (not even close) doesn’t make you good.”

    No it doesn’t… but manhandling offensive linemen like they’re children does… which Suh does

  55. He’s not dirty. He’s very young and aggressive. He’s also way stronger than everybody else which makes for a terrible looking play every now and then, like the completely legal hit against Cutler.

    The Delhomme hit was over the top. He was a young kid caught up in the moment. The Dalton hit was over the top as well, but look at it from his perspective as well. First, no he didn’t pull his helmet off as I’ve heard people claim. It came off because Dalton, as he did the entire game, didn’t even have his chin strap done up. Second, he had grasped him and had no idea he threw the ball. How could he? His head was in his chest. Then, unknown the ball is gone and without the whistle yet blown, he throws him down.

    He’s a young kid and he’ll learn to play with less stamina at some point. He’s definitely not dirty. He’s simply way more talented, athletic and strong than almost anybody else on the field. Due to this, a simple push, like on Cutler, looks way worse than it is.

  56. Let’s just put flags on the quarterbacks and call it good. Then no one will have anything to cry about

  57. watch the replay! It is not dirty. He got there as the ball was being released and had no way of knowing the ball was gone when he tackled him. The first couple of times I watched this I thought it was a bit brutal, but as I watch it more, it really isn’t that bad. He didn’t slam him as much as I thought he did and he DID NOT rip off his helmet or grab his head!

    Basically he put all of his weight on the kid. This is a play that will happen 20 times this year but it looked worse because 1) the helmet popped off and 2) Suh ripped of a QB’s helmet last preseason.

  58. He just bought property in every O-lineman and QBs head in the league. Was he trying to hurt Dalton? NO. I was taught to play till you hear the ref whistle the play dead, only whistle I heard was when dalton hit the ground.
    Has the NFL and its fans gotten soft or what?

  59. Whe was the last time a dirty player admitted out loud that, yes, he is a dirty player?

    I mean, duh. He could go out on the field and actually tear someone’s head from their neck, and he *still* wouldn’t say he’s a dirty player.

  60. I’m not getting into a dirty player debate based on one hit. But I did finally see the hit on Dalton, and it was inexcusable. He didn’t try to sack Dalton; he went for his head & neck, deliberately yanking off his helmet. Once the helmet was removed, he threw Dalton to the ground when the play should have been over. Suh’s a great athlete, and it’s not an issue whether I’d want him on my team. It’s about that hit and that hit was dirty.

  61. 6 sacks vs the bears this year. Just wait.

    Suh for defensive MVP this year. Stafford stays healthy and the lions have a chance at a wildcard spot.

    Can’t wait to see fairley next to this beast and boy am I glad my team doesn’t face the lions this year

  62. all u whiney ass sissies r whats wrong with football. u dont wanna see people get popped watch competitive shuffle board.

  63. How does someone intentionally grab and rip off a helmet that popped off on the initial hit by Avril?

  64. Ndamukong Suh is a better man than most of the whiners posting here. And I do NOT like the Lions. I am a Bears fan. If “dirty ” means a bit late and WAY aggressive, then I’ll agree THAT hit was “dirty”. Can’t argue that. But that one hit does not make Ndamukong Suh a “dirty” player.
    Why do you wussies even watch football? Isn’t there a soccer match somewhere?

  65. matthewinwisconsin I just wanted to personally thank you for your post! Your right we’ve got a lot of people that need to become soccer fans!

  66. Gotta laugh at the people trying to defend the Delhomme and Dalton hits as “not dirty.” Get your heads checked. Those hits were unquestionably dirty.

    Does that make him a dirty player? No. Steve Smith only punched two guys in the face. Would you argue that he’s not a hot-head? Or would you say that he was just young and aggressive?

  67. Suh has the Dalton and is stopping his forward motion. Cliff Avril with a Bengal blocker runs into Daltons helmet which is knocked off. Suh who is only finishing the tackle since there was NO WHISTLE, continues throwing Dalton to the ground.

    No dirty play, no attempt to “rip off his head”. I don’t care if you tackle someone by their shoe strings or blow them off their feet. Your job is to tackle.

    If some other QBs in the league take notice and are a little more nervous, then realize the Detroit DoorMat is gone.

  68. @bischof21 …

    Watch it again.

    @matthewwinwisconsin and opie333 …

    I love hard-hitting, smashmouth football. But he make a tackle. He tried to rip the guy’s head off. It wasn’t a legal hit 25 years ago. It’s not a legal hit now. And I do like the Lions.

  69. Suh plays hard and between the whistles. He is not cutting knees or face-raking players.

    Suh is a monster who would have been heralded in any era but this new age we live in where hurt feelings is enough to create a climate of oppressive moral outrage.

    How wonderful in this PC hyper-sensitive candy-ass world we live in that Suh’s play is too rough.

    The same people crying are the same people who resentfully insist that it’s not a “snowman” but must instead be referred to as a “snowperson.”

    There are about 7 trillion other examples, but just the fact many insist the term “snowman” profoundly offends their delicate sensibilities is ridiculous.

    Suh rocks — and is far from dirty. Don’t conflate effectively physical with dirty. Two different animals.

  70. @paulieorkid …

    Snowperson? ROFL Nooo. Don’t want female refs, either. And posted on another thread that we shouldn’t be labeling physical, hard-hitting players “dirty.” But that was a bad hit in any era. It doesn’t help the smashmouth cause to defend a guy deliberately going for the head.

  71. Deb,

    Agree with nearly all your takes – though the disagreements provide fun too.

    As for Suh’s play on Dalton – my take is that football is a physical game.

    It is not meant for everybody.

    No one walks onto a field and straps it up at gunpoint. The NFL draft does not parallel the miliary draft — it is purely voluntary.

    And coaches/personnel directors/fans/teammates want aggressive high motor players – fierce competitors who are tone-setters. Butkus went into the Hall of Fame for that. Mean Joe Greene. Jack Lambert. Randy White. Ronnie Lott. Chuck Bednarik. The list goes on.

    Barring injury, Suh will be first ballot.

    ‘Kong’s torch job on Dalton was no more nasty than the plays I’ve seen Green, Lambert, White, Lott make and thanks to NFL Films, the Sabols and their crews – Butkus, Bednarik and others.

    A key, likely primary reason, the NFL is so popular – is because it is played by something kind of akin to modern day gladiators.

    Diving at a knee from the backside is dirty. Chopping down or cutting a player while he’s engaged in a double up is dirty. Blows after the whistle or clearly out of bounds are dirty. Cortland Finnegan is the equivalent to Pigpen of Peanuts fame. That guy’s nickname might as well be “Mud.”

    But Suh is nasty, a great player and not dirty. Serious man crush – just love that guy.

  72. @opie333 …

    Love tap? Like King Kong swatting at the planes? 🙂

    @paulieorkid …

    Awww … why are you picking on Pigpen? 😉 No, I wouldn’t call him dirty. I like those hard-hitters, too. Just don’t want to see a head bouncing across the field in one of those helmets 🙂

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