In what is either a sign that a man can truly change or a reading of the last rites for irony, Ndamukong Suh told his teammates they needed to grow up.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions defensive tackle, who was voted team captain for the first time, called a players-only meeting Tuesday on the topic of discipline.
Specifically, he told his teammates they had to avoid silly penalties — like the ones he’s committed throughout his career.
“I wouldn’t have seen Suh doing that a couple years ago,” linebacker Ashlee Palmer said. “But like I said, he’s coming out of his shell. I think that’s going to be a big positive for us because we know we got him on the boat, and it’s all good now.”
Suh’s talent spoke for itself in previous years, but he was willing to let elder defensive linemen such as Kyle Vanden Bosch handle the leadership burden. But teammates say he’s clearly taking it more seriously this offseason.
“His work ethic, how he takes care of himself on and off the field, he really, truly, genuinely wants to get every play right,” defensive lineman Jason Jones said. “And when he does mess up a technique or something like that, he’s really mad at himself. So just seeing how much passion he puts into what he does, he deserves [to be a captain]. He’s doing all the right things.”
Suh’s talent has always been sublime, but the flags and the fines and the distractions around him have detracted from that. If he’s able to live up to his responsibilities as a captain, the Lions may change things too.