Last Monday, the NFL suspended Lions center Dominic Raiola for one game after he blatantly stomped on the leg of Bears defensive lineman Ego Ferguson. This week, the NFL will be taking a closer look at another Lions-related incident involving a player with a more notorious history of on-field misconduct and discipline.
The incident involving Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be reviewed on Monday. Per a league source, the NFL will strive for consistency and will adhere to its desire to remove certain types of play from the game.
Replays show Suh stepping twice on Rodgers’ leg. The first, with the right foot, appears to be clearly accidental. The second, when studied in slow motion, appears to be intentional, with Suh moving his left foot backward, pressing it into Rodgers’ lower leg, pushing down, and then lifting the right leg off the ground to increase the force applied.
Rodgers’ real-time reaction suggests a strong belief by the quarterback that it was no accident, even if Suh managed to convey nonchalance while doing it. In some respects, the move resembled Suh’s application of a foot to the crotch of former Texans quarterback Matt Schaub during a 2012 Thanksgiving game. Suh’s leg swung naturally in Schaub’s direction as Suh fell to the ground after being blocked. But once Suh’s foot was in the vicinity of Schaub’s groin, Suh subtly pushed the shoe into Schaub.
Suh was fined $30,000 for the Schaub maneuver.
Suh’s history includes a two-game suspension for stomping on the arm of former Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving 2011 and a $100,000 fine for an illegal low block on Vikings center John Sullivan in September 2013. Suh escaped punishment for a blow to the head of former Cardinals tackle Eric Winston that same month, possibly because the league failed to notice the move.
That history surely will be used against him, both in determining whether it was an accident and in assessing punishment. Suspension for Sunday’s playoff game against the Cowboys would be surprising, but few players in the league would justify serious consideration of such an outcome.
Either way, more will be known, most likely by the end of the day.