Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DAVE DYE  |  Last updated 9/11/13
ALLEN PARK, Mich. If youre waiting for Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to say hes going to change, you could have a long wait coming. Suh did nothing of the sort Wednesday when he met with the media for the first time since being fined 100,000 by the NFL for an illegal block after diving at the knees of a Minnesota player during an interception return last Sunday. I dont change, Suh said. Im going to always play tough, hard. Thats the way I was brought up at Nebraska, where I really learned football from the Pelinis (coach Bo Pelini and his brother, Carl, the Cornhuskers former defensive coordinatordefensive-line coach) and that staff. Im going to continue to play hard, blue-collar football. The excessive fine appears to be a final warning from the league and that the next time hes likely to face a suspension. Suh insisted the situation wont force him to play more cautious. Really, just play football, he said. Thats all I can do. Suh confirmed that hes going to appeal the fine, the largest in NFL history for an on-the-field incident. Asked if the fine was fair, he answered, Thats not my decision. I dont really have an opinion on it. Its going through the appeals process. Well go from there. Suh wouldnt comment further on his decision to appeal, saying: My agents taking care of it. Thats what hes paid for. Hell handle it. The Lions bad boy doesnt seem to be too concerned about trying to change the public opinion of him. Youre never going to change people, Suh said. Ive always understood. Theres people that live on the far side or on the near side or in between. They jump over and back from the fence. Thats not really my concern. Im going to be consistent (with) who I am. As for whether hes being targeted by the league because of his reputation, Suh replied, Youve got to ask the league that question, whether they wanted to make a decision off my reputation or off of this year, whatever it may be. First game of the year, I dont know. He added, Im not handing out the fines. Youll have to ask (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell or anybody on his staff that handles that. Suh has paid out nearly 343,000 since entering the league in 2010, including six fines and a two-game suspension without pay two years ago for stomping on Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. Suh was called for only one personal-foul penalty last season but also was fined 30,000 for kicking Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin, a play that wasnt penalized at the time. DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, has expressed his concern to Suh about player-safety issues. I have reached out to Ndamukong Suh, Smith wrote in a message posted Tuesday on Twitter. We believe that all players have a basic responsibility to each other. Asked about Smiths message to him, Suh said, We havent had a chance to have a full-out discussion. When I actually get that chance to, Ill probably just keep that between me and him. Current and former players have been criticizing Suhs style of play since this latest issue. He is a dirty player, said former Indianapolis center Jeff Saturday, a six-time Pro Bowl selection and current analyst for ESPN. Every player that plays against him knows it. What he does and continues to do is ridiculous. New Orleans tight end Benjamin Watson, a 10-year NFL veteran, believes that Suhs style needs to be seriously addressed. I dont know that a suspension or the amount of the fine really solves the problem, Watson told the NFL Network. Honestly, I think its a character issue. I think theres something going on here that we need to look deeper. A 100,000 fine is obviously an astronomical amount, but because weve seen this happen multiple times, I dont think its about the amount. I think its about players getting on players and him deciding that, Hey, Im going to abide by the rules. I mean were out here trying to work, we all have mouths to feed. We come to work every day hoping to go to a safe workplace, and he is making it a danger for a lot of guys, and his conduct needs to stop. Suh is used to the critics, but he understands, at least to some extent, why his block on Vikings center John Sullivan has gotten so much attention. I think its obviously player safety, Suh said. The leagues concerned. Youve got to only respect it. Thats one of the reasons why I spoke to Sullivan as we walked into halftime. He understood where I was coming from. No hard feelings. Same thing if he cut me. Suh apologized to his teammates Tuesday for the penalty, which was behind the play and totally unnecessary. Its a play that took a touchdown away, he said. We could have had more points on the board. Obviously, I dont want to hurt the team. In that instance, that play, it did. I just made it a point to emphasize that to them and made it known.
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