ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- For the first time in his litany of incidents in the NFL throughout his four-year career, Ndamukong Suh might have a case for being fined egregiously.
The NFL reportedly fined the Detroit Lions defensive tackle $31,500 for a hit on Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden on Sunday. Suh hit Weeden on two separate occasions, but neither one was flagged and neither one seemed all too bad.
Perhaps that's just in comparison to other plays Suh has been fined for in his career, which include a suspension for stomping on a player, blocking another at the knees and a kick to the groin.
However both plays Sunday looked fairly clean live. Yes, this is why the NFL goes over plays after the fact, to find illegal things that may not have been called, but this is the first time one of Suh's fines seem questionable. And a screen stop of the play shows Suh’s helmet going into the chest of Weeden on an incomplete pass to Davone Bess in the first quarter.
But the question there is where was he supposed to go? The game moves fast. The hit clearly came in the pace of play. In this particular instance -- and let me stress this instance only -- he may not have been trying to hit Weeden with his helmet.
And again, he wasn’t flagged for it.
Part of Suh’s problem here is he is a repeat offender and his fines escalate over time so that likely goes into the large figure.
Suh said Wednesday he always feels like he is under a microscope. This might be an example of him being overly scrutinized.
He brings some of that scrutiny on himself with his play. Some of it is probably unwarranted. But as he said Wednesday, life isn’t always fair. And it’s not. It probably explains how Suh deals with these things.
He seems to shrug them off, like he did publicly when asked about losing the appeal on his $100,000 fine from Week 1. He just kind of moves on to the next week and the next play and, apparently, the next inevitable play that will be monitored by the NFL.
One thing Suh hasn’t done, though, is think about leaving the game because of the attention, even though he said recently that once he's done with football he’d probably move out to the woods somewhere.
“I have a very strong group of people around me that take care of me and understand,” Suh said. “I think you just roll with the punches. Not everything is going to go your way in life.
“I understood that, grew up that way. It’s just like, for me, I wanted a Nintendo 64 when I was little. My mom said no.”
To be fair, up to this point the NFL has not been overly heavy-handed with Suh this season. He was not fined for what appeared to be an inadvertent elbow to the head of Arizona offensive lineman Eric Winston.
But the message is clear. This is the price of being Ndamukong Suh lately. For every questionable hit he delivers, he might also take an ever-increasing hit to his bank account.