Jim Caldwell praises Ndamukong Suh

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Ndamukong Suh has not been at the Detroit Lions' workouts yet this offseason, but that is apparently going to change this week, as head coach Jim Caldwell said he anticipates the defensive tackle showing up at OTAs beginning Tuesday.

Caldwell also said Suh's absence has not changed how he views him as a leader.

"I've been a few places in my time and I can cite you so many different examples of guys that maybe weren't here during the time period that did a tremendous job just in terms of leadership and those kinds of things, and I don't expect him to be any different," Caldwell said Sunday. "I think he'll fit into that category as opposed to any other category you'd like to slide him into."

While Caldwell wouldn't name some of those other players, Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis missed at least part of the offseason workouts in 2010, when Caldwell was with the Indianapolis Colts.

Suh is entering the final season of his rookie contract, and Lions management has said often this offseason that they anticipate being able to get a contract extension done at some point.

If they don't, the Lions will either have to franchise tag Suh following the season or let him become an unrestricted free agent.

The 27-year-old has played in 63 games for the Lions since being drafted with the No. 2 pick in 2010, recording 188 tackles and 28 sacks. Last season, he had 49 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

Caldwell said he has been in communication with Suh, both talking and texting.

"Obviously he's a great player," Caldwell said. "And he's also got great leadership ability as well, and so to have him back in here working amongst the group is going to be a great time for everybody."