Ndamukong Suh: I chose Lions in '10

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Ndamukong Suh, who was picked second in the 2010 draft, said it was his choice to go to the Detroit Lions instead of somewhere else.

Never mind, of course, that players don't get to make those decisions coming out of college.

"I think I said this from the very, very first day I got drafted," Suh said Wednesday. "I'm here for a reason. I had an opportunity, probably a lot of you guys don't know, could have gone elsewhere when I was drafted. I had that decision in my hands -- I chose not to take because that's just the way I saw it. The same thing when I went to Nebraska. I wanted to be a part of something that wasn't just already set up or on its way to getting better, and I want to be one of the cornerstones of it.

"That's what I see myself in Detroit, being one of the cornerstones, getting this organization back to a championship level and like coach Caldwell said, we're not in a rebuilding year, we're in a year of going to get a championship and that's what I want to be here for."

Asked how that was possible, Suh said "there's many ways to do things." He then went on to say he could have dropped down in the draft, moved up in the draft or that a team could have gone to get him.

Asked for more clarification because prospects don't often control where they go in the draft, Suh did not elaborate. He declined to say whether or not he potentially had a similar situation to the 2004 draft, where Eli Manning said he wouldn't sign with the San Diego Chargers and then ended up being traded to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers.

"It is my choice," Suh said. "It is, for sure, my choice. Like I said, that's water under the bridge. I'm here in Detroit. I'm happy to be here in Detroit and I'm going to continue to play my heart out as I've always done."

A request for comment from Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew was not immediately returned. An email message left for his agent at the time, Roosevelt Barnes, also was not immediately returned. Suh fired his agents in January and eventually hired Jimmy Sexton and CAA to work out his new deal as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

He would not say, though, how Jay-Z's company, RocNation Sports, fits into his plan. He had been rumored to be signing some sort of deal with them earlier this offseason.

Suh said his decision not to show up for the first weeks of offseason workouts had nothing to do with his contract situation -- and that if it did, he would not have shown up for the Lions' organized team activities this week.

He would not go into the particulars about negotiations, a timetable of when he would like things done or anything else about his contract. He did say, though, that he would like to remain with the Lions.

"Without question. I don't think anybody wouldn't want to be a Lion," Suh said. "Obviously I've been here and understood what's so great about this team, the potential that we have and we've got to stop living off of potential and get ready to go to work like we've been doing the past couple of days and improving every single day and getting better as offense and defense."

The Lions' front office has maintained throughout the offseason they want to bring Suh back to Detroit long-term and remain hopeful about being able to sign him to an extension.

All of this came on Suh's first public appearance at an offseason workout for the Lions. He has typically missed the beginning parts of the offseason program to train at home -- something he has done often throughout his time in the league.

He said he heard criticism about his lack of presence in offseason workouts, but that for the sake of consistency in how he prepares, he remained training at home.

"For sure, I'm aware of it. I had friends, family, people that are close to me saying people were saying bad things about me and blah blah blah," Suh said. "There's people who are always going to talk bad about you. You have to be a deaf mute if you didn't hear it.

"For me, from that standpoint, I hear it but it doesn't necessarily bother me because I'm staying consistent in who I am and I'm going to be here prepared when it's time to go, as I am now."

From that standpoint, Suh showed up for OTAs in the shape Lions coach Jim Caldwell expected him to -- "impeccable." And he was glad to have him show up.

"It's great that he's here," Caldwell said. "Obviously, he's not obligated to be here. It's all voluntary. He looks great. He's worked extremely hard. He's back and he's been trying to get as good as he possibly can. ... We're glad that he's here and I think he does a great job of demonstrating his leadership down there on the field."