Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh recently said he’s trying to change his reputation as a dirty player.
It's a label he’s earned through eight fines and one suspension since entering the NFL four years ago.
Suh has already been fined $139,375 this season, including a $100,000 fine for an illegal block on Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan. He first became known for crossing the line when he stomped on the arm of Green Bay Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith in a 2011 game, earning a two-game suspension.
Ravens left guard A.Q. Shipley played against Suh last season when he was with the Indianapolis Colts and says he regards the dominant defensive lineman as aggressive, not dirty.
“He’s a great player, you can’t knock anything he does,” Shipley said. “He plays hard, he plays to the whistle. Sometimes, they call some things on him. I don’t think that’s necessarily him being a dirty player. That’s just him trying to play hard and fast.”
Suh was recently fined $7,875 for making a throat-slashing gesture against the Packers on Thanksgiving.
Suh acknowledged in a recent Sirius NFL Radio interview that the Dietrich-Smith incident has damaged how he’s perceived.
“It's obviously tainted me and given me a bad rep, and well-deserved in that instance, but I don't think one moment in somebody's life is going to define them,” Suh said. “I've vowed, not only to myself personally, but to my family and my teammates and coaches not to have that happen again and not have situations like that that's going to hurt them or make them feel that they can't be proud of me or want me as a teammate.
“That's one thing that I just hope and wish people have the opportunity and take the light to be unbiased and really kind of take a look at my track record and not define me by one instance and one mistake in my life that I've had.”