By Shawn Lealos
The Dallas Cowboys face the Detroit Lions face off in the first round of the 2014 NFL playoffs. The game takes place in Dallas, as the Cowboys enter the game as the NFC East champions while the Lions stumbled in as a wild card team following their loss on Sunday to the Green Bay Packers. However, the game looks scary to Dallas fans, as the team has lost four games at home this season and the Lions are the NFL’s top ranked rushing defense.
One of those problems might have swung in the Cowboys direction as the best defensive player on the Lions team has been suspended from the wild card playoff game. The NFL suspended Ndamukong Suh for stepping on Aaron Rodgers calf and ankle during the game last weekend. While the incident looked like an accident, and Suh never even looked at Rodgers when it happened, Suh’s history condemned him.
When Rodgers went down to the turf after throwing the ball, one of the Packers’ offensive linemen pushed Suh backwards and Suh ended up stepping on Rodgers’ ankle. He never looked back or down, but stepped up and then backed down again, stepping on the calf. Rodgers shoved him away and Suh walked off without looking back.
The argument against Suh is that there is no way that he didn’t feel Rodgers’ leg under his foot the first time. When he stepped on it the second time, it was no longer because he was pushed back, and the NFL assumed that he was purposefully taking the opportunity to hurt Rodgers. There was no penalty called on the play, but Rodgers made sure to run to a referee and tell him what Suh did to him.
Honestly, if this was any other NFL player, there wouldn’t have been a suspension. At the worst, the player might have gotten fined, although that should include the NFL proving there was malice. While Suh hasn’t gotten in trouble at all this season, he has been fined a total of over $200,000 in his career and was voted the dirtiest player in the NFL by other players.
It is also important to note that this is the final season of Ndamukong Suh’s contract and the Detroit Lions have already hinted that they will not bring him back. Next season, some team in the NFL will pay Suh a lot of money and get one of the best defensive players in the NFL. This weekend, against Dallas, the Lions may get to see what their defense will look like when they let Suh go.
Suh is appealing the suspension, claiming that the incident was not malicious and was an accident. While the first step was an accident, because there is no way Suh could have known that Rodgers was there, the second step is what probably got him suspended. If Ndamukong Suh is suspended and misses the game, the Lions lose their key defensive weapon as they hope to stop DeMarco Murray. It might be Suh’s last game in Detroit and the Lions last game of the 2014 NFL season.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. aExaminer.com.