A group of a dozen or so reporters gathered around a small podium on the corner of the Lions Allen Park training facility’s turf at the conclusion of the team’s Wednesday practice.
Head coach Jim Schwartz had already been to the podium, as had Matthew Stafford, but not a reporter budged.
Like most Lions fans, they were awaiting the return of Ndamukong Suh.
Wednesday marked the first contact between Suh and the local media after his two-game suspension and a car accident that occurred during the time off.
Suh emphatically conveyed a couple of messages: He was looking forward to returning to the field and playing the Oakland Raiders. And he wasn’t willing to talk much about the suspension or the accident.
Suh also had a radio interview on 97.1FM The Ticket, similarly side-stepping questions before he – albeit politely – ended the interview early. (Listen to the interview here.)
But isn’t Suh obligated to discuss the situation – at the very least the football-related one – with the media?
“I wouldn’t necessarily [agree with that],” Suh said. “It doesn’t always involve you guys. It’s been [dealt] with, you guys make your speculations and then you report what you think is right and what’s not right. The most important thing right now is this football team and not me individually and it’s me being part of this football team and us going down to Oakland and taking care of business.”
Suh later added: “You’re going to write what you want to write. I’m going to move on with my life and continue to play football, have fun with it and live with my family and friends.”
Suh’s tight-lipped waltz, eluding questions as if they were would-be blockers, is infuriating irritating to many fans and media members alike who have been eagerly anticipating Suh’s post-suspension thoughts and explanations.
Truthfully, Suh is not in the wrong. He has no obligation to further comment about these past events and his mantra of, “looking forward to playing Oakland” easily fulfills what he “owes” the media -- and it actually is the best thing for his team.
Questions about Suh were directed towards many of the other players on the team and, if the fallout from the suspension wasn’t already a distraction, constant media inquiries about Suh may escalate it into one.
Suh also refused to comment or elaborate on any conversations he's had with teammates. However, head coach Jim Schwartz confirmed the two did have a meeting upon his return to the team, while many players simply welcomed back their teammate.
“It’s great to have him back,” said defensive end Cliff Avril. “He’s ready to play, he’s focused, he’s the same ole Suh, enjoying football... He’s fine, he seems cool, he’s talking, he’s vocal, he’s the same old guy at work and having fun.”
There doesn't seem to be any players that might hold a grudge or resent their teammate for what happened, although Suh's onfield actions put his team at a disadvantage during a postseason jaunt. Rather, they are simply happy to have one of their most valuable players back on the field as they continue their playoff push.
There is nothing Suh can do to change what happened. As he's reminded everyone, he's moving on with his teammates in tow. The rest of us, fans and media alike, should follow.
Suh owes hard work, consistent effort and effective play to teammates and the fans. All of which he appears fully prepared to do for the remainder of the season.
The rest should be left where it is -- in the past.
Are the Lions destined for the playoffs?
Join the discussion in The Den, the most active online
Detroit Lions fan community. Go Now!