Ndamukong Suh is known as one of the dirtiest players in the NFL. During yesterday's Packers-Lions game, he may have just proven why. And it might lead to another fine - and possibly a suspension.
During the third quarter of the game, Suh lost his cool. He was subsequently ejected for bashing the head of Evan Dietrich-Smith into the ground, then stomping on his right arm. You can see the play below:
Suh insisted he didn't intentionally step on the opposing lineman with his right foot, saying he was just trying to separate himself from the situation.
"I apologize to my teammates and my fans and my coaches for putting myself in a position to be misinterpreted and taken out of the game," Suh said.
He added: "My intention was not to kick anybody, as I did not, removing myself. I was on top of a guy, being pulled down, and trying to get up off the ground -- and why you see me pushing his helmet down, because I'm trying to remove myself from the situation, and as I'm getting up, I'm getting pushed, so I'm getting myself on balance."
But that wasn't all he said:
ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert called Suh's explanation and defense, "delusional:"
Thursday will go down as the day Ndamukong Suh lost his innocence. No longer can there be a reasonable debate about the style and intent of his play, much less his comprehension of its consequences, not after his game ejection and subsequent explanation after the Detroit Lions' 27-15 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
The entire nation watched Suh pound the head of Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith into the ground three times and then stomp on him as the two were separated. Many of you saw his postgame comments, a scary mix of manic sentences and paranoid conspiracy theories that suggested the gulf between Suh and the NFL's accepted way of life is widening rather than closing here at the end of his second season.
Even Lions coach Jim Schwartz, one of Suh's most reliable defenders, offered a measured response. "Regardless of our intent," Schwartz said, "we can't put ourselves in that position."
It's going to be difficult, if not impossible, for Suh to shed the stigma of such a visible incident. If you didn't think he was a dirty player before, you're going to have a much more difficult time not believing it now.
Dietrich-Smith wouldn't say it was a dirty play.
"Stuff happens," he said.
Green Bay defensive end Ryan Pickett was more outspoken.
"There's no place for that," Pickett said.
ESPN notes Suh's history:
For Suh, it was another data point in the growing discussion about whether the 6-foot-4, 307-pounder plays dirty. In less than two seasons as a pro, Suh has established himself as one of the game's strongest and most athletic defensive linemen, but he's also received his share of fines.
Suh requested and received a meeting earlier this season with commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his play. He said that dialogue was helpful, but now the league will have to decide whether more discipline -- be it a fine, a suspension or both -- is merited in this case.
Suh wasn't the only one to get thrown out of the game. Earlier in the game, Packers special teams man Pat Lee was ejected for scuffling with two Detroit players on a punt:
The Packers, however, took advantage of Suh's misstep just as they did on Matthew Stafford's three interceptions.
John Kuhn followed nose tackle B.J. Raji for a 1-yard TD plunge after Suh was flagged on third down, and Green Bay turned Stafford's interceptions into two TDs and a field goal.
Detroit became the NFL's first team to win three games in a season after trailing by 17 points with Sunday's comeback win over Carolina, but the Packers proved they weren't as vulnerable as the Panthers.
(H/T: Business Insider)
The Associated Press contributed to this report.