Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh was on the ground, entangled with the Green Bay lineman who had blocked him down. As Suh got up, the Detroit All-Pro pinned Evan Dietrich-Smith’s head against the turf, then was pushed off.
Suh stepped down hard with his right foot, appearing to make contact with Dietrich-Smith’s right arm, and the Detroit star was ejected from the Lions’ 27-15 loss to the Packers.
“I want to apologize to my teammates, my coaches and my true fans for allowing the refs to have an opportunity to take me out of this game,” Suh said. “What I did was remove myself from the situation the best way I felt, with me being held down.”
Suh apologized, but the defensive tackle was quick to defend himself, saying he was trying to keep his balance while freeing himself from the brief scuffle.
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“My intention was not to kick anybody, as I did not, removing myself,” he said. “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.”
Suh’s third-quarter dismissal helped turn a close game into a rout. It came on third down when the Lions appeared to have forced Green Bay to settle for a short field goal. Instead, the Packers were awarded a first down, and they scored a touchdown moments later, taking a 14-0 lead.
Suh requested and received a meeting earlier this season with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his play. He said that dialogue was helpful, but now the league will have to decide whether more discipline – a fine, a suspension or both – is merited in this case.
“I can’t speak on that,” Suh said. “I don’t have a decision in that.”
Suh disputed the notion that he’d stepped on Dietrich-Smith intentionally.
“Not by any means. I understand, in this world, because of the type of player and the type of person I am, all eyes are on me. So why would I do something to jeopardize myself and jeopardize my team, first and foremost?” Suh said. “I did push his helmet multiple times because he’s holding on to me. He’s grabbing me. That’s the reason I’m on top of him and I’m not at the quarterback, because I’m being held down by him and so I’m pushing him off of me.”
PUT ME IN COACH
They were down two defensive backs at halftime when Lions coach Jim Schwartz told receiver Rashied Davis to be ready, he might be needed at defensive back.
Sure enough, after Brandon McDonald hurt himself diving while trying to stop a long touchdown pass in the third quarter, there was Davis running on the field as a slot cornerback.
A special-teams standout by trade, Davis hadn’t practiced at cornerback since 2005, his first year in the NFL with Chicago, and hadn’t played the position in a game since a year or two earlier in the Arena League.
“At that point it’s like playground football,” Davis said. “They didn’t tell me what to do, they just said, ‘You’ve got him, cover him.’ It’s not like they could coach me on the sidelines too much. The game is going on.”
Davis finished with two tackles and estimated he played somewhere between five and 10 plays in the loss to the Packers.