Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was ejected from the Lions’ 27-15 loss to the unbeaten Packers on Thursday after he stepped on an opposing offensive lineman.
Check the actual video if you missed it and what he had to say after the jump…
Suh was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and ejected early in the third quarter after the Lions thought they’d stopped the Packers on third down near the Detroit goal line. A replay showed Suh and Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith scuffling on the ground briefly before the All-Pro defensive tackle got up and stomped at Dietrich-Smith’s upper right arm.
“I want to apologize to my teammates, my coaches and my true fans for allowing the refs to have an opportunity to take me out of this game,” Suh said. “What I did was remove myself from the situation the best way I felt, with me being held down.”
Suh was quick to defend himself, saying he was trying to keep his balance while freeing himself from the brief scuffle.
“My intention was not to kick anybody, as I did not, removing myself,” he said. “I was on top of a guy, being pulled down, and trying to get up off the ground — and why you see me pushing his helmet down, because I’m trying to remove myself from the situation, and as I’m getting up, I’m getting pushed, so I’m getting myself on balance.”
Dietrich-Smith wouldn’t say it was a dirty play.
“Stuff happens,” he said.
Green Bay defensive end Ryan Pickett was more outspoken.
“There’s no place for that,” Pickett said.
Suh’s third-quarter dismissal helped turn a close game into a rout. It came on third down when the Lions appeared to have forced Green Bay to settle for a short field goal. Instead, the Packers scored a touchdown moments later, taking a 14-0 lead on John Kuhn’s 1-yard run.
It was 24-0 at the start of the fourth, and although the Lions (7-4) scored a couple late touchdowns, they lost on Thanksgiving for the eighth straight time.
For Suh, it was another data point in the growing discussion about whether the 6-foot-4, 307-pounder plays dirty. In less than two seasons as a pro, Suh has established himself as one of the game’s strongest and most athletic defensive linemen, but he’s also received his share of fines.
Suh requested and received a meeting earlier this season with commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his play. He said that dialogue was helpful, but now the league will have to decide whether more discipline — be it a fine, a suspension or both — is merited in this case.
“I can’t speak on that,” Suh said. “I don’t have a decision in that.”
In August, Suh was fined a third time for roughing up a quarterback after grabbing Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton and throwing him to the turf after he had gotten rid of the ball in a preseason game. He was fined last season for hits on Chicago’s Jay Cutler during the regular season and Cleveland’s Jake Delhomme in the preseason.
Suh disputed the notion that he’d stepped on another player intentionally Thursday.
“Not by any means. I understand, in this world, because of the type of player and the type of person I am, all eyes are on me. So why would I do something to jeopardize myself and jeopardize my team, first and foremost?” Suh said. “I did push his helmet multiple times because he’s holding on to me. He’s grabbing me. That’s the reason I’m on top of him and I’m not at the quarterback, because I’m being held down by him and so I’m pushing him off of me.”
The Packers had a player ejected in the first half, when Pat Lee appeared to take a swing at a Detroit player while covering a punt.
Late in the second quarter Thursday, Lee became entangled with a couple of Lions and appeared to take a swing at Detroit’s Aaron Berry well after the play was over. It was part of a first half that included 12 penalties — eight by the Lions.
The 27-year-old Lee was drafted in 2008 out of Auburn. He’s started only one game in his NFL career.