ALLEN PARK, Mich. - Before the NFL made the announcement Tuesday afternoon that Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was being fined 100,000, he stood up in front of his teammates and apologized.
It was his illegal block on an interception return that wiped out a touchdown by teammate DeAndre Levy in Sundays game against the Minnesota Vikings and led to this whole controversy.
He (Suh) actually looked at Levy and said, Look, its tough, it doesnt come often, interception to the house. I pulled that off the scoreboard with my actions so I apologize, receiver Nate Burleson said, when asked about Suhs message to the team.
It was real sincere on many levels.
He just basically said that he cant make those types of mistakes. He cant put us in (that) position. He also said with him having a target and people looking for him, theyre looking at us in the same light. As a team, weve got to understand that the microscope is on us.
Burleson said Suh had already apologized individually to some teammates, even in the middle of the game, but that he took it a step further during the team meeting Tuesday morning.
I think he just wanted to make sure everybody heard him, Burleson said.
Suh wasnt available for comment Tuesday, but hes expected to address the media about the incident and the fine following Wednesdays practice.
Im just glad were not losing him for any games, center Dominic Raiola said.
The excessive fine is being interpreted as a final message to Suh that hed better clean things up or risk a suspension the next time.
The Lions cant afford for that to happen.
This is the sixth time that Suh has been fined during his four-year NFL career. He got hit for 30,000 last year when he kicked Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin.
Suh was also suspended for two games, without pay, in 2011 when he stomped on Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith with his foot.
All told, Suh has been docked nearly 343,000 during his career for his actions on the field.
Hes also made more than 51 million, not counting endorsements, since being the second pick overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Still, Tuesdays fine was extreme, reportedly the largest in NFL history, primarily because hes a multiple-repeat offender.
This time, it was his hit at the knees of Minnesota offensive lineman John Sullivan that led to more negative publicity for Suh, who is widely considered the dirtiest player in the NFL.
Ohhhhh, baby, a hundred stacks? Burleson said, emphatically, when informed of the amount of the fine.
When you have a guy who people look as quote, unquote dirty, a play that might not be as dirty could be deemed as such. I hope he appeals it. I dont think that was worthy of being fined 100,000.
Burleson said that the players appreciated Suhs apology.
Afterward, A few guys screamed out We love you, Suh, Burleson said.
It was a good thing, quarterback Matthew Stafford added. Hes a great player, a guy that, besides that play, wrecked the game for the Vikings. He was in the backfield the whole game, caused a pick. He played a great game. Its too bad that happened. It kind of overshadowed his performance, but we stick with him.
The Lions overcame Suhs mistake, winning 34-24, but they know theyre going to have to put an end to the boneheaded plays as a team if theyre going to be a serious playoff contender.
Its clear that the league is watching everyone closely, but perhaps even more so the Lions, especially Suh, because of their recent history.
Sometimes we ask for it, Raiola said. Sometimes we do stuff were not supposed to do. This is an aggressive team. Maybe we push it too far sometimes, but were fixing that.
Theyre saying all the right things, but will they do them?