DETROIT (AP) - For the first season-and-a-half of his young career, Ndamukong Suh could almost brush off talk about his penalties and fines, saying he would keep doing what was needed to help his Detroit Lions.
After hurting the team with a penalty and ejection on Thanksgiving, Suh now says he has learned his lesson.
“My reaction on Thursday was unacceptable,” the star defensive tackle said in a statement on his Facebook page Friday night. “I made a mistake, and have learned from it. I hope to direct the focus back to the task at hand _ by winning.”
“The on-field conduct exhibited by Ndamukong Suh that led to his ejection from yesterday’s game was unacceptable and failed to meet the high level of sportsmanship we expect from our players,” the team said. “Ndamukong has made many positive contributions to the Lions on and off the field. We expect his behavior going forward to consistently reflect that high standard of professionalism.”
It could be several days before Suh finds out the true cost of his third-quarter stomp in Detroit’s 27-15 loss to the Packers on Thursday. An NFL spokesman said Friday that plays from Week 12 looked at for potential discipline won’t be reviewed until all games are completed.
Detroit coach Jim Schwartz was curt after Thursday’s defeat when asked if he was worried about a possible suspension.
“I’m worried about losing this game,” Schwartz said.
Suh was dismissed after tangling with Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. After being pushed off Dietrich-Smith, Suh stepped down hard with his right foot, appearing to make contact with Dietrich-Smith’s right arm.
Immediately after the game, Suh defended himself, saying he was trying to keep his balance while freeing himself from the brief scuffle. He publically apologized to teammates, coaches and fans Thursday for “allowing the refs to have an opportunity to take me out of this game,” but he insisted he didn’t intentionally step on anyone.
“People are going to have their own opinions _ that’s fine,” he said after the game. “The only (people) that I really care about are my teammates, my true fans and my coaches and their opinions, and that’s where it lies. And honestly, the most important person in this whole thing that I have to deal with is the man upstairs.”
In his Friday statement on Facebook, he said he’d had more time to reflect.
“Playing professional sports is not a game,” he said. “It is a profession with great responsibility, and where performance on and off the field should never be compromised. It requires a calm and determined demeanor, which cannot be derailed by the game, referee calls, fans or other players.”
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 month 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 is merited after he was ejected on national television.