NEW YORK (AP) — Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been suspended for this Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against Dallas for a violation of safety-related playing rules against Green Bay in the season finale.
Chicago Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen is sacked by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
The league announced Monday that Suh was suspended for stepping on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ left leg twice, once with each foot. Suh also applied pressure and pushed off Rodgers’ unprotected leg with his left foot, violating unnecessary roughness rules, the league said in a statement.
Suh, who will be reinstated next Monday, can appeal the suspension within three days. He can ask for an expedited appeal, which would be heard by Ted Cottrell, a hearing officer employed by the NFL and the players’ union. No hearing is scheduled, but one could happen as soon as Tuesday.
Rodgers had an agitated look after the incident, and coach Mike McCarthy said after the game: “There’s no place for that. I don’t understand it, frankly.”
On Monday, McCarthy backed off a bit, saying: “I was hoping this wouldn’t go this way. That was a hell of a football game played yesterday, and that’s what I really came here to talk about. I’m not here to talk about behavior (of) players on other teams.”
Suh did not speak with reporters at the Lions practice facility.
Lions center Dominic Raiola, coming off his own one-game ban for a similar incident, was enraged by the suspension.
“The play … he wasn’t even looking at (Rodgers).” Raiola said. “He was getting pushed back a little bit. It was ridiculous what Fox did right after it. It was crazy, watching it. I couldn’t even listen to those guys after he did it.
“There is no way, at that point in the game, that he did something like that on purpose. No way.”
Suh is a repeat offender with a long list of fines and one previous suspension, for two games in 2011 for stepping on the right arm of Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. Suh has been fined seven times in his career, but this is the first in 2014.
This Dec. 28, 2014 photo shows Detroit Lions’ Ndamukong Suh looking on during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis. The league announced Monday, Dec. 29, 2014 that Suh was suspended for stepping on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ left leg twice, once with each foot. Suh also applied pressure and pushed off Rodgers’ unprotected leg with his left foot, violating unnecessary roughness rules, the league said in a statement. He will miss Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against Dallas. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke, file)
Suh was fined $100,000 for an illegal block on Vikings center John Sullivan in Week 1 of 2013 during an interception return. That was the largest fine in NFL history for on-field conduct, not counting suspensions.
The suspension was imposed by Merton Hanks, the NFL’s vice president of football operations. Hanks ruled that Suh engaged in a non-football act which placed his opponent at unnecessary risk of injury.
In his letter to Suh, Hanks wrote, “You did not respond in the manner of someone who had lost his balance and accidentally contacted another player who was lying on the ground. This illegal contact, specifically the second step and push off with your left foot, clearly could have been avoided.”
Hanks further noted “you unnecessarily stepped on your opponent’s unprotected leg as he lay on the ground unable to protect himself.”
Suh will not be permitted to attend team meetings and functions, attend or watch practices, appear at the club’s facilities for any reason, or have contact with any club personnel except to arrange off-site medical treatment or rehabilitation.___
AP Sports Writers Noah Trister and Genaro Armas and freelancer Andy Reid contributed to this story.
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