Sources: Suh to appeal fine as excessive
Ndamakung Suh's agents are gathering the relevant information for their appeal of the Detroit Lions defensive tackle's $100,000 fine, but the basis of their argument, at this point, is that the amount is excessive, league sources said.
Ndamukong Suh's representatives are gathering relevant information for their appeal of the Detroit Lions defensive tackle's $100,000 fine, but the basis of their argument, at this point, is that the amount is excessive, league sources said.
The NFL has a system based on escalating discipline. Suh's previous fine was $30,000 for kicking Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin area. Now, the cost for his illegal block on Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan is $100,000 -- the largest fine in league history without a suspension involving the loss of game checks.
Suh, who on Wednesday said his reps are handling the appeal, wouldn't discuss whether he thought the fine was fair. The appeal will be heard Friday via conference call.
"That's not my decision," he said. "I don't really have an opinion on it."
As far as being targeted by the league, Suh said: "That's not my opinion. You really have to ask the league that question."
Suh's agent, Roosevelt Barnes, came to his client's defense Thursday, insisting that Suh is not a dirty player and is being unfairly persecuted.
"Ndamukong plays within the rules," Barnes said. "He plays hard. He's just an easy target [for the NFL]."
Suh's $100,000 fine has put the Lions' organization closer to suffering financial consequences if there are future infractions.
The NFL Remittance Policy impacts teams for multiple violations once the fine amount for all players exceeds $105,000 -- although the maximum amount applied to the team total for any individual violation is $50,000. So Suh's most recent penalty counts for $50,000, meaning if Suh or other Lions players accumulate more fines this season and that total surpasses $55,000, it would automatically trigger a $50,000 penalty assessed to the Detroit organization.
Suh, a team captain, apologized to his teammates Tuesday. He also apologized to linebacker DeAndre Levy, who lost a touchdown on an interception return because of Suh's penalty for blocking below the waist on the change-of-possession play.
"He apologized to the team. It was sincere. We accepted it," running back Joique Bell said. "We all a family, and that's our brother. At the end of the day, we all we got. So, it was a good deal. Levy accepted it, so if he can accept it, everybody should be able to accept it."
Suh said he felt the need to apologize because his penalty took away a touchdown.
"We could have had more points on the board," he said. "Obviously you don't want to hurt the team and that instance, that play, did. Just made it a point to emphasize that to them."
Another interesting element of Suh's appeal is that it will be heard by either former coach Ted Cottrell or ex-player Matt Birk. Suh might have reason to be concerned if Birk is involved because Birk is a former offensive lineman who played center for the Vikings.
When asked about Suh's fine, Sullivan told USA Today Sports on Tuesday that he was glad "the matter is settled."
"I'm just happy I wasn't hurt -- seriously injured," he told the newspaper. "There's a reason that play is illegal. It's incredibly dangerous. I just feel fortunate that I'll be playing this week."
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith tweeted Tuesday that he has reached out to Suh.
I have reached out to Ndamukong Suh. We believe that all players have a basic responsibility to each other.— DeMaurice Smith (@DeSmithNFLPA) September 10, 2013
Suh said Wednesday that he hasn't had a chance to talk with Smith.
"When I actually get that chance to, I'll probably just keep that between me and him," he said.
Suh was suspended for two games in 2011 for stomping on Green Bay Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. He has also been fined in previous seasons for roughing up quarterbacks Andy Dalton, Jay Cutler and Jake Delhomme, then with the Cleveland Browns.
Barnes contends that were it not for the $15,000 fine that Suh incurred as a rookie for hitting Cutler, some of these fines would not have piled up the way they have.
"People keep talking about how he's a dirty player -- he's not," Barnes said. "They keep talking about him being a repeat offender but he is because some of his personnel fouls, if you look at them, are questionable and shouldn't have been called."
"I hesitate to call a player dirty simply because I don't know their intent, but I do know what he did was illegal, and I do know he has done it multiple times, so it comes a time when enough is enough," Watson said in an NFL Network interview. "We need to get what he is doing rectified, and we need to sit down as players and talk to him. We are talking about player safety and obviously this is a play that lies outside of that. As players, we need to hold ourselves accountable."
"I think if he wanted to blow the guy's knee out, I think he would have," Palmer said. "I only saw it one time on a highlight and it looked like he was peeling back on a block. I think he's a smart guy and a strong guy, [and] if he was physically trying to injure somebody, he would have. It was just a low block."
In another development Wednesday, police in an affluent Detroit suburb cleared Suh of any charges for waving a pellet gun in front of a cable company worker attempting repairs to a line on the player's property.
Birmingham police say the cable worker thought the gun looked like an assault rifle and feared for his safety. Police say Suh told them he feared for his family and said he'd be even more aggressive protecting them than he is on the football field. Police say the confrontation happened Aug. 16. Police say Suh didn't point the weapon at the Comcast employee but waved it around.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPN.com Lions reporter Michael Rothstein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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