As expected, Ndamukong Suh has been suspended for an incident that involved him shoving a player’s head into the ground and then stomping on his arm. And as many assumed, he’ll have to sit out two games.
The infraction itself, which has been compared to the infamous Albert Haynesworth stomping incident of 2006, wasn’t all that bad. Haynesworth stomped on a player’s head in ’06, injuring him in the process. For that, he received five games. While still blatantly malicious, the Suh shove and stomp was innocent compared to that. And the victim was not hurt.
Still, Suh had crossed the line too many times in the past to escape a suspension this week. He was suspended because he’s a recidivist, not because of the immensity of the event that took place on Thanksgiving Thursday. Since Roger Goodell took over as commissioner in 2006, this is the second longest suspension his office has issued for an on-field incident, with only the Haynesworth blow-up drawing a more severe punishment.
Assuming Suh doesn’t appeal the suspension (and based on the fact he reportedly had a phone conversation with Goodell on Monday night, I have a strong feeling he won’t), he’ll have to miss two crucial games for a team that is locked in a three-way tie in the NFC wild-card race.
UPDATE: Suh is appealing the suspension, and apparently Goodell encouraged him to do so.
The good news (scratching and clawing to find a bright side here) is that the Lions are expected to go 1-1 in their next two games, with or without Suh. They were already an 8.5-point underdog in New Orleans this weekend, going up against a Saints team that is 5-0 at home and hasn’t surrendered a sack in three games. And in Week 14, they get to host a depleted Vikings team that may still be without Adrian Peterson.
So long as the Lions beat the Vikes, they’ll technically survive this suspension. And then they won’t be able to use that as an excuse if they still fail to make the playoffs.