Ndamukong Suh is going back to the NFL, this time hoping for some leniency.
The league suspended Detroit’s All-Pro defensive tackle without pay for two games Tuesday, punishing the second-year player for roughing up a Green Bay Packers offensive lineman after the whistle last week. Suh promptly appealed his suspension, hoping his stomp doesn’t keep him away from his playoff-hopeful teammates when they need him most.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Suh’s hearing will be with Art Shell, an appointed appeal officer who is paid by the league and National Football League Players Association. As of late Tuesday afternoon, the hearing hadn’t been scheduled, but the league has said it will expedite the procedure to give Suh and Lions an answer before Sunday’s game at New Orleans.
If Suh doesn’t win the appeal, he won’t play against the Saints or in the Dec. 11 home game against Minnesota. He would return Dec. 12 ahead of a road game against Oakland.
Suh is barred from practice and the team’s facility while suspended. He did not return messages.
“As a player, you have to appeal it,” said Detroit defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, the team’s union rep. “I’m sure the NFLPA will be on his side to make sure that he gets a fair hearing.”
If the NFL turns rejects the appeal, Suh will be watching the Lions (7-4) scramble to keep up in the NFC wild-card race after what the league said was his fifth violation of on-field rules in his first two years in the NFL. And everyone saw the latest one.
Suh lifted up his right knee and forcibly stepped on Evan Dietrich-Smith’s right arm during the third quarter of the Lions’ 27-15 loss last Thursday in a nationally televised Thanksgiving Day game. Before the stomp seen from coast to coast, Suh shoved Dietrich-Smith’s helmet toward the turf while separating himself from the Packers player on the ground.
Suh has already been fined three times for roughing up quarterbacks and another time for unsportsmanlike conduct. He leads the league with nine personal fouls since 2010, according to STATS LLC – two more than teammate Cliff Avril.
JAGUARS FIRE DEL RIO
The Jacksonville Jaguars are headed in a completely new direction. And Los Angeles doesn’t appear to be the destination.
Team owner Wayne Weaver fired longtime coach Jack Del Rio on Tuesday after a 3-8 start and agreed to sell the Jaguars to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan. Weaver named defensive coordinator Mel Tucker the interim coach and gave general manager Gene Smith a three-year contract extension, putting him in charge of the coaching search.
The moves marked the most significant changes for the small-market franchise since its inception in 1993.
“It’s the right thing at the right time and for the right reasons,” Weaver said. “We deserve better; the community deserves better.”
Forbes reported the sale to be worth $760 million.
Weaver, who will turn 77 in January, had been looking for an “exit strategy” for years, wanting to find someone to buy the team and keep it in Jacksonville. He had tears in his eyes several times as he announced his impending departure.
HOUSTON SIGNS QB
The injury-riddled Texans added to their quarterback depth Tuesday, reaching a deal with Jake Delhomme.
Delhomme worked out with the Texans, along with fellow retired quarterback, Jeff Garcia. The 36-year-old Delhomme will back up rookie T.J. Yates, a fifth-round pick slated to start Sunday’s game against Atlanta.
Linebacker Erik Walden apologized to the Packers organization, his teammates and fans in the wake of his recent arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. He says he is cooperating with the legal process and is sorry that he “brought something negative from so much positive that’s going on” with the Packers. … Browns starting linebacker Scott Fujita was placed on injured reserve, his season ended by a broken hand. … Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers will miss the rest of the season with a right wrist injury. … The Chiefs released offensive tackle Jared Gaither days after he committed a costly false start penalty in a loss to the Steelers. … Nolan H. Luhn, who played for the Packers from 1945 to 1949, has died. He was 90. Luhn was drafted by the Packers in 1945 after playing football and basketball for Tulsa. He was a second team All-Pro end in 1947.