Ndamukong Suh displayed a little humility when he said he’s not the best defensive tackle in the NFL right now, but do we really believe he is a leader?
That is what Suh suggested when he made a radio appearance on KTAR in Phoenix that was transcribed by the fine folks at sportsradiointerviews.com.
“I definitely see myself as a leader,” Suh said. “One of the ways I’ve been lucky enough to lead and likely to continue to lead is just my actions and the way that I approach the game and working hard and being a player that steps up in big-time situations when plays need to be made. I feel like I did that a good amount in my rookie season. I might have slipped a little bit in my sophomore season, but I look forward to picking up and getting back on the high horse.”
A leader by his actions? That’s a curious way for Suh to describe himself coming off a season in which he visited NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and then was suspended for two games. After his suspension, Suh did little to address the situation other than saying he was moving forward.
“I think the biggest thing is just moving past everything and looking forward to this 2012 season,” he said. “Like I said, I was lucky enough to be back in Detroit doing some different things earlier last week and preparing for this upcoming season. That’s where my focus is and I think that’s the most important thing.”
At least he showed a little respect when asked if he was the best in the league at his position.
“No, I don’t,” Suh replied. “I think I have a lot of work ahead of myself to even be considered in that group, but I’m definitely not going to hold myself down in any means in terms of having an opportunity to be up there with some of the greats. There’s a lot of guys that are actually in the league right now that are quite good. One of them that I definitely consider a top defensive tackle is Haloti Ngata. He’s consistently doing it year-in and year-out and I look to kind of follow in those footsteps.”
The bottom line for Suh is it’s going to take time for people to view him in a different light. He can talk all he wants about moving forward but until he does so for an extended period of time (a couple seasons in our mind) he’s still going to be viewed as a thug. And it’s hard to view a thug as a respected leader.
Suh has immense talent and when he’s on he can dominate a game in the trenches. The Lions have a special player that can be great if he remains committed.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune