The Lions are taking the field for their first minicamp under new coach Jim Caldwell today, and they’re doing so without Ndamukong Suh.
While negotiations on a new contract for the star defensive tackle are said to be civil and productive, they aren’t far enough along that he’s showing up for a voluntary practice. He’s also missed the last two weeks of voluntary conditioning work, as he’s within his contractual rights to do.
Caldwell sort of talked around the absence today, in a talk to a group of season ticket holders.
“From a coaching standpoint, obviously we do this for a living and we’d like to have him every minute of every day, every single player as often as we possibly can just to get our system in place and all those kind of things,” Caldwell said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “But here’s the thing. He’s a very, very thoughtful individual, who’s kind of got his life planned out. We talked — as a matter of fact I probably talked to him more than any other player from the time that I got the job until [the start of the offseason program], so you have a real good sense of what his plan was going to be. But nevertheless I think you’re still going to see [him] have a very, very positive impact on our team.”
The Lions were also without a group of players rehabbing after offseason surgeries, including Calvin Johnson and Ziggy Ansah, but those medical questions are different.
This one seems as simple as money, and until Suh sees it, he’s apparently choosing to stay away from the voluntary work.