Suh says he “always wanted to be” in Detroit

Getty Images

Officially no longer a Lion after signing an enormous contract with the Dolphins, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh says he always wanted to stay in Detroit.

“There is no question that it’s a huge misconception that I didn’t want to be here,” Suh told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.  “I’ve always wanted to be here, especially growing up [as a person] here, being drafted here and having such a huge warm welcome.  I think anybody would be crazy not to want to be at a place that they’re superly embraced.  There’s tons of people in this community that I have gotten to know over time that to me, one, I’ve created mentors here, people from the business world that have just reached out and wanting to make sure that I’m doing the right things.  So for me it was not an easy decision by any means.”

The money made it easier, as in $59.955 million fully guaranteed at signing as part of a six-year, $114 million contract.  Per Birkett, the Lions topped out at $58 million guaranteed on a $102 million deal.  It’s unclear how much of the guaranteed money offered by Detroit was fully guaranteed.

“For me, my goal was always to come back,” Suh told Birkett.  “I was never looking to want to leave and figure out a different situation.  But at the end of the day, I have to do what’s best for myself and for my family because at the end of the day, those are people I have to look in the eyes each and every single day for the rest of my life and know I made the right decision for us as a whole and for my future and my future kids, my wife, that I’ll eventually hopefully have soon.”

Although Suh said in December that his agent will pick his next team, Suh claimed that he didn’t realize he’d have a new team until recently.

“I thought at every single point through the process that I was going to be in Detroit,” Suh told Birkett.  “Even after they didn’t do the franchise tag . . . I still felt just a great, great chance of me still being in Detroit.  So, it wasn’t until really, really late, late in the process is where I was like, ‘Wow, I got to, I actually got to start thinking outside of Detroit.'”

On the notion that agent Jimmy Sexton would be picking Suh’s next team, Suh offered clarification.

“When I said the comment in December or whatever [that] Jimmy’s going to make the decision for me, without question Jimmy’s going to have a heavy input into it,” Suh said.  “He’s my agent, he’s in every single negotiation, talking to every single team, speaking to the Lions, I mean, to the 11th hour, 12th hour, whatever you want to say. . . .  [A]t the end of the day I have to take credit and I have to take the heat of the decisions I make in my life, so why as a human being and as a young man not have good counsel and a solid group of people around you to help make the decision?  But at the end of the day it’s your decision.”

So why did Suh, presumably after getting advice from those around him, give an exclusive to the Free Press in which he explains that he wasn’t counting the days until he could get out of Detroit and that he always wanted to stay?  Although they’ve broken up, Suh apparently still wants to be more than friends with Detroit.

“I envision [my relationship with the city being] no different than what it was when I was here, if not more in a lot of different aspects, especially from the business side of the world,” Suh said.  “I don’t see it changing much.  It hasn’t changed at Nebraska, it hasn’t changed in Portland, so why would it change here?”

The difference is that in Nebraska and Portland, things came to a natural conclusion.  He didn’t leave college early; he stayed as long as he could and then left because he had to leave.  In Detroit, he didn’t have to leave.  In Detroit, he could have taken the best offer that Lions made.  In Detroit, a natural ending would have been retirement after 12 years or so.

But here’s the wrinkle Suh didn’t mention:  There’s no guarantee it would have ended naturally if he’d stayed.  A bad year or two, and the Lions may have escaped the remainder of the deal — especially without fully-guaranteed salaries for the first three years.

Teams always want players to take less to stay.  Teams will rarely if ever pay players a penny more than they absolutely have to.

That’s what Suh should have said to Birkett.  That Suh was ready to make a long-term commitment to the Lions but that the Lions weren’t ready to make a long-term commitment to him.  So he had to take the longest-term commitment he could find.  Because without that commitment, any player can get kicked to the curb at any time.

Because loyalty isn’t a two-way street in the NFL.  Loyalty is a word used to get players to do deals they shouldn’t do.  And then when it’s time to for the team to move on from the player, the team says, “It’s not about loyalty, it’s about business.”

81 responses to “Suh says he “always wanted to be” in Detroit

  1. At a certain point, you’re either set for life, or you are not. This “gotta look my family in eye” thing is suspect. Suh and his immediate family should be set for life (and then some) with only a half-assed approach to sound financial planning.

    If he truly wanted to be a Lion, he’d be a Lion.

  2. Always wanted to be in Detroit? Your nose is growing Pinocchio Suh. Lions had 58 million guaranteed and Dolphins 59.995…..you would of stayed in Detroit if you wanted to.

  3. What a clown. Why would you say that?

    Notice how this NEVER happens to the mighty Packers! That’s because we are the classiest team in all the land. And we have the best fans.

    Glad to see Suh out of the division though.

  4. “i fully intended to stay in detroit …i love detroit…i love the lions…but miami is giving me more money and no sales tax…and io love that even more” suh said
    …can’t blame him at all

  5. Yes, South Beach is overpopulated with a cadre of refugees from Detroit, Jersey, Queens, the Lower East Side, Metropolitan Boston, and other hot spots because those individuals are victims of circumstance.

    I say that while looking at two feet of snow still being on the ground here in Boston in mid-March.

  6. “Teams always want players to take less to stay. Teams will rarely if ever pay players a penny more than they absolutely have to.

    That’s what Suh should have said to Birkett. That Sup was ready to make a long-term commitment to the Lions but that the Lions weren’t ready to make a long-term commitment to him. So he had to take the longest-term commitment he could find. Because without that commitment, any player can get kicked to the curb at any time.

    Because loyalty isn’t a two-way street in the NFL. Loyalty is a word used to get players to do deals they shouldn’t do. And then when it’s time to for the team to move on from the player, the team says, ‘It’s not about loyalty, it’s about business’.”

    = = = = =

    That, right there, is very strong analysis. Boom. That is extremely insightful writing right there.

    To concur, teams do lean on the loyalty angle when it can be played to their benefit, and may even manipulate “leaks” to the press in furtherance of such aims — but teams show no loyalty to players when the shoe is on the other foot. Check out how Pittsburgh has treated Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton, Brett Kiesel, etc.

    As NFL front offices go, loyalty is a one way bargaining chip. Even coaches can get on the wrong side of that equation — again, go to Pittsburgh and see how the Steelers handled Coach LeBeau.

  7. The bottom line this is all on the Lions,if they were serious about this kat , then they would have locked him up a long time ago.

    I find it inexcusable when a team lets a HIGH draft pick, especially one who is the best at his position walk out that door.

    Its basically like you are a FARM team to help someone else get better.They might aswell had never had that Draft.

  8. As the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DeBiase said ……………”Everybody’s got a price ”

    But you’ll be OK Detroit you still have RoboCop

  9. Remember in the 90’s people used the term : ” Oh, puh…. leeese” . I think Suh has generated a comeback.
    .

  10. Patriots fans have been acting like Suh is an average player because he had an average stat line when he played them last year. In reality, their game plan centered around avoiding him. Most of the game was 6 yard passing routes and they attempted to run the ball 3 times the entire first half. I’d say he had an effect.

  11. Those quotes are cliché and pretty typical of a guy that was bought. What a salary cap nightmare. If I were a ‘phins fan I’d be pretty pissed about that contract. That’s a crippling hit.

  12. The two million dollar difference doesn’t look like much until you compare the states. Florida doesn’t have a state income tax, so while he could shield some of his income in Michigan, the difference must be substantial. Still, if he wanted to stay, unless he has idiots for financial advisors, he should already have been set for life and a few million shouldn’t have made any difference.

  13. Why is nobody saying the obvious?

    Detroit didn’t want to put that kind of money into a DT. Period.

    They were better parting ways. Both need a fresh start. Both parties did fine in the deal. Detroit fan should NOT be upset.

    Especially with that Ngata deal. Holy cow that should really be a solid move.

    Suh is not wrong. Detroit is not wrong.

    Chill folks.

  14. I don’t know, as a Packer fan I’ve watched Suh play a lot of games, and he was never a factor that couldn’t be easily handled with the right game plan. I don’t think the Patriots are too worried about him.

  15. Detroit could have afforded him if they werent overpaying that QB. Calvin Johnson could make Mark Sanchez look good.

  16. I’m sick of these guys taking the money … then acting like they were somehow forced into it. The Lions probably offered him $80,000,000. He turned it down and took the better offer. Own it. I think you could have lived OK on $80 million. No one forced you to do anything.

  17. It’s easy to say now but hard to believe. Nothing Suh has said or done since his arrival in Detroit suggested that he wanted to make a long term commitment. In fact, one could surmise that Suh had been biding his time as a loyal soldier from the beginning while also patiently plotting his escape, like Andy Dufresne from the Shawshank Redemption. Never balking at the team’s requests to renegotiate his deal to be more short term cap friendly, perhaps Suh shrewdly recognized that the contract adjustments would ultimately make a franchise designation nearly impossible this offseason. No doubt, Suh was a beast on the field with impeccable conditioning habits but he also has carried himself with an odd mix of image consciousness and detached insincerity, bordering on full blown narcissism. Having fulfilled his mission to leave Detroit, he remains uncomfortable with the idea that some will view him as the bad guy. His eventual departure was inevitable and obvious to most observers except, apparently, those within the Lions’ organization.

  18. dwarftosser says:
    Mar 15, 2015 11:12 AM

    I don’t know, as a Packer fan I’ve watched Suh play a lot of games, and he was never a factor that couldn’t be easily handled with the right game plan. I don’t think the Patriots are too worried about him.

    ______________________________________

    Well said, Suh is overrated, just like the Lions! At least he can step on Rodger’s calf and say his feet were numb…..goodbye to the dirty suh stomp! So glad to have him out of the NFCN!

  19. The community talk amongst NFL owners and now the players is really insulting and a tired old act… Your both in it for the money, not that I blame anyone for making as much money as possible, call it what it is..stop with the lies

  20. So glad the Raiders didn’t sign this clown just to make a “splash” like some of the no brain talking heads (that means you especially MS from Cal) wanted.

    The Raiders are sticking to a tried and true plan – draft well and add FA’s judiciously (no matter how much CAP space they have.

    Oh by the way, the Raiders will get to the rolling average CAP limit by the deadline. That’s why it’s called a deadline, and it’s in 2016. Watch them extend the Carr and Mack deals right at the wire.

  21. “Patriots fans have been acting like Suh is an average player because he had an average stat line when he played them last year. In reality, their game plan centered around avoiding him. Most of the game was 6 yard passing routes and they attempted to run the ball 3 times the entire first half. I’d say he had an effect.”

    ——————————————————————-

    You’d say he had an effect? Really? Suh is a great player but how much effect did he have when your team loses 34-9?

    Even Suh would shake his head at you and say “Apparently, my “effect” had no effect on the outcome.”

    It must be hard to remember this in Detroit — WINS matter, outcome matters. Stats are for losers.

  22. I’m always surprised when sportswriters and bloggers never mention the tax rates in different states. Michigan has a 4.25 percent income tax rate. Florida doesn’t have a state income tax.

    Comparing the two contracts and subtracting taxes paid if Suh finishes the contract, the Miami offer was about $16 million more than Detroit.

  23. I remember when you walked all over Rodgers calf and you said it was cold and you couldn’t feel your feet. We didn’t believe you but you were a Lion so we gave you the benefit of the doubt. Not doing that any more bud. It’s now time for Dolphins fans to defend you.

    You were not amicable to the organization that put up with your antics for 5 years. First you fire your agent last off season during the time the Lions were actively trying to re-up you. Then you spend a few months being your own agent. So naturally no negotiations take place. Then you hire Jimmy Sexton and announce to the world you will let your agent pick your next team.

    You were never going to be a Lion Suh. Just admit that. As someone who defended the Dalton/Delhome pre season body slams, the Schaub kick in the Junk, the Stomp and walking over Rodgers I say good riddance and good bye.

    Go Lions

  24. Just once I would like an athlete to look into the mic and say” my shelf life is short and it was ALL about the money” fans would appreciate that.

  25. If the Lions truly wanted Suh they would have made the commitment to him that the Dolphins did.

  26. ” Per Birkett, the Lions topped out at $58 million guaranteed on a $102 million deal. It’s unclear how much of the guaranteed money offered by Detroit was fully guaranteed.”

    ————————————————

    I never knew there was a difference in guaranteed money vs. “fully” guaranteed money. Next time I buy a “100% satisfaction guaranteed” product I better make sure it says “100% satisfaction FULLY guaranteed” instead.

  27. He cares about as much for staying in Detroit as he’s going to put out effort on the field next year now that he’s gotten his huge payday. Ie; very little.

  28. I often read that since Florida has no income tax, it has a big advantage in attracting NFL free agents.
    So, then why do Miami, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville field such bad football teams?

  29. I agree with harrisonhits2 – it feels to like an Adalius Thomas/Albert Haynesworth type signing – got paid, stopped trying so hard.

    That’s mostly why the Patriots don’t do these types of deals.

  30. ReligionIsForIdiots says:
    Mar 15, 2015 10:52 AM
    I’d take 60 million guaranteed too to play in front of 40,000 orange seats, a joke of a head coach and a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1972.

    Um, last playoffs was in 2008. But, he “idiots” in your name fits.

  31. He’s a politician. Saying all the right things isn’t going to sway Detroit one way or another. We put up with all the national hate because of results. A canned interview with Birkett ain’t gonna keep everyone loving you here. Go talk to Miami reporters please

  32. Very annoying when athletes say this type of crap.

    Nobody forced him to leave for a bit more money and I am sick of the “I have to look out for my family” excuses when it isn’t like a team was going to ask he pay them to play for them, plus in his case he has already made tens of millions. I highly doubt a few extra million is make or break for “him and his family.”

    Athletes just have no respect for fans when they say this blatant bull.

    Now I am perfectly fine with an athlete going for more cash but don’t follow that up with acting like you didn’t want to leave the team you were on but had to because their offer was a few million less.

  33. Oatmeal grizzly, still has to pay taxes in the states he plays in. So he will have to pay for playing in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts every year

  34. Suh also said he was “going to let his agent pick where he signed next”, he’s all about the money and anything he says now is 100% b.s.

  35. Suh knows that the next game he plays could be his last due to injury, so I don’t blame him for taking as much guaranteed money as he can get.

  36. You’d say he had an effect? Really? Suh is a great player but how much effect did he have when your team loses 34-9?

    Even Suh would shake his head at you and say “Apparently, my “effect” had no effect on the outcome.”

    It must be hard to remember this in Detroit — WINS matter, outcome matters. Stats are for losers.
    ———————————-
    JJ watt makes a big difference in a game, however very rarely one player contributes singlehandedly deadly to a win..unless it’s a great qb..hence why the Texans went 9-6 this year and 2-14 the previous..having suh is a big asset

  37. I never buy into the “thinking of my family” crap when it comes to athletes. At the salary he was making, him, his immediate family, and his extended family should be set for life quite comfortably. If he REALLY wanted to stay in Detroit, a couple of million dollars shouldn’t have made a difference. When is more money than you can spend enough?

  38. People always bring up the fact that there’s no income tax in Florida. That’s true, but the state makes up for it in other areas, like a higher property tax and higher corporate income tax (meaning higher prices on goods and services and higher utilities bills).

    We’re talking about government here…. even the most conservative state needs an absurd amount of money, and if they aren’t getting it through income taxes, they get it elsewhere.

    So yes, overall $59 million in Florida is worth more than $59 million in a place like Michigan. But the difference is nowhere near as big as people would have you believe.

  39. I dislike the positioning and games that go on from on both sides of the table, by teams and players/agents.

    This intense desire to get what you want, have the media portray it well, and then come out of it looking positive.

    The whole thing lacks transparency and candor from beginning to end. It is what it is, fine. NFL is an entertainment business, teams want to maximize proft and players/agents want to max out pay on a limited career span. I get it.

    But it gets old trying to be sold from both sides. Like two manipulative parents trying to win the affection of a kid in a divorce.

    Suh left because he got a better deal in Miami.

    So he’s not a Lion and most lion fans are, indeed, lion fans and not Suh fans. So, yeah, they don’t like that you left them for the giant wheelbarrow of cash on South Beach and aren’t going to be warm and friendly. That’s their prerogative, just like it was yours to leave and the team’s to not sign you.

  40. Of course it’s about the money and security. Too bad for for Detroit and all the other teams for not stepping up, but Ross was not going to be out bid for this guy. He was trying to help the Detroit fans not feel as bad about their decaying city, and cheap team.

    wtfchiefs says:

    Those quotes are cliché and pretty typical of a guy that was bought. What a salary cap nightmare. If I were a ‘phins fan I’d be pretty pissed about that contract. That’s a crippling hit.
    ————————
    Actually, we couldn’t be more pleased, but thanks for your concern, the Dolphins will be fine.

  41. Hell, Suh took the best deal! I suppose if a competitor of your current employer offered you a higher paying job you would say “No Sir. I gotta be loyal to my boss forever.” Riiiight!

  42. As a lifelong Detroit area resident and Lion’s fan, I don’t blame Suh for leaving. I don’t like it but I understand. Fans have a tendency to think about their team, but they have no real skin in the game.

    That the Lions got to the point where they extended Suh to where the franchise tag would be a reckless gamble was a byproduct of being so bad for so long. 3 mega contracts before the rookie cap was a killer. In the long run it is better that Suh left now. In the short term I hope it does not hurt too much.

  43. So how do you think that statement’s gonna play in Miami where they just committed $60 million to the guy.

    And what he *really* wanted to do all along was stay in Detroit!

  44. This is pure business and don’t paint it any other way. That’s the whole point of this article. When players make a business decision, it’s a money grab. When owners cut players loose, it’s just business.

  45. Cry me a river $uh….he didn’t want to be in Detroit just ask his sister. I’m really getting tired of these birds and the money that’s thrown around. NFL -Not For Long. Someday this charade will be over.

  46. Loyalty is a word used to get players to do deals they shouldn’t do.”

    What nonsense. What free agents in any pro sport have decided to take a weak contract out of “loyalty” or because they were fooled or misled by a team telling them to be “loyal”?

    Zero. It’s a business, with adults on both sides of the negotiations.

  47. “Loyalty is a word used to get players to do deals they shouldn’t do.”

    What nonsense. What free agents in any pro sport have decided to take a weak contract out of “loyalty” or because they were fooled or misled by a team telling them to be “loyal”?

    Zero. It’s a business, with adults on both sides of the negotiations.

  48. ReligionIsForIdiots says:

    I’d take 60 million guaranteed too to play in front of 40,000 orange seats, a joke of a head coach and a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1972.
    —————————————————————–

    since 1972, the Phins have been in the playoffs in 1973, 1974, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008

    they won the AFC East in 1973, 1974, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1992, 1994, 2000, 2008

    they’ve been AFC champions in 1973, 1982, 1984

    and they won the SB in 1973

  49. Man… this guy is just full of it!!!! Just like he didn’t realize he was stepping on Aaron Rodgers ankle. He’s a liar. period.

  50. If this compulsive liar gets injured, I won’t have sympathy for Miami or Suh.

  51. The Dolphins fans have heard all this “contract is going to cripple you” talk for years with Wallace and well I ask you, what Contract? If that was so crippling, then why did we sign Albert a top FA last year and then this year the undisputed best Free Agent available (BTW- stop with JJ Watt and Reggie White comparisons, neither was available, so totally irrelevant). If this is Cap trouble: I like it! We are good for next year at $31M under to sign Tannehill and Pouncy. 2017 well a lot can happen until then, just review the last week alone.

    Trust me, if Suh was on your team every last one of you would be happy and defending him. I will until he does some nonesense thing like step on a QB’s ankle, as that is never acceptable! For his payday… I am betting he learned his lesson. The Contract does have a Suspension Clause at least.

  52. @randomguy9999

    You should add the Dolphins went to the Super Bowl in 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1983. They won in 73 and 74. They are also the 3rd winningiest professional team in all organized sports.

  53. As the song title says “Take the money and run.” Suh is just trying to soothe the ill feelings that Lions fans have toward Suh for leaving the Lions for the Dolphins.

  54. Watch and see the Lions will win the NFC North next year and have a top ranked defense. Hell hath no fury like a Lion scorned. You’ll see…

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.