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Ndamukong Suh on Hall of Fame track but longevity will be key

Ndamukong Suh's numbers suggest he's on track to be a Hall of Famer but he needs several more productive years to make a compelling case. Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh turned 30 in January, a birthday that often serves as an important marker for professional athletes.

For Suh, hitting the "big 3-0" has led him to reflect on his past and where he currently stands in his career. While he wants to be remembered as one of the most dominant defensive tackles of all time, Suh maintains he still has more years and games ahead of him.

Suh admitted Wednesday that he’s also thought about being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the most prestigious individual honor a player can receive once his playing days are over.

"I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t; of course, everybody thinks about the Hall of Fame," Suh said at Dolphins minicamp. "One of the first two trips I made was to the Hall of Fame in Canton. ... I’d love to be a part of it."

Suh has arguably been the league's most productive defensive tackle since entering the NFL in 2010. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase recently called Suh the "best in the business" at his position, and Suh said he wants part of his legacy to be that opponents must know where he is on the field at all times.

Suh’s numbers through seven seasons are comparable to recently inducted Hall of Fame defensive tackles Cortez Kennedy (2012) and Warren Sapp (2013). According to ESPN Stats & Information, Suh has more tackles than Sapp through his first seven seasons and more sacks than Kennedy over that same span.

“I think I always prided myself on wanting to be a guy that’s very similar to, obviously, the greats -- Reggie White, Warren Sapp -- guys of that caliber that changed the game from their particular position,” Suh said. “But I’m only eight years into the league, and they played many, many more years than me. I still have a lot of work ahead of myself.”

Suh mentioned that he plans to play many more seasons. Cameron Wake is still playing at a high level and he's five years older than Suh. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is playing at a Hall of Fame level and turns 40 in August.

Longevity is a key component of the Hall of Fame equation, and Suh doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Last year, at 29, Suh registered a career-high 72 tackles to go along with five sacks.

“I think at all times you look at it when you get to this age,” Suh said. “I remember guys [like] Kyle Vanden Bosch, Corey Williams being in their seventh and eighth year when I was a rookie going to Detroit. So seeing how those guys approached it, they really took it day by day. ... For me personally, that’s how my approach has been. Obviously, I’m going to continue to play at a very, very high level.”