It's only fitting that Ndamukong Suh's potential last game with the Detroit Lions will be in street clothes, not in uniform.
Suh, the star defensive tackle, was suspended by the NFL on Monday.
Suh deserved it. His action – an ill-advised two-step on Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers' left leg in the Lions' 30-20 loss on Sunday – was totally uncalled for. As a result, Suh will miss the Lions' playoff game against the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday evening.
In a statement from the NFL, Suh "unnecessarily stepped on (the) opponent's unprotected leg as he lay on the ground unable to protect himself."
It was both dumb and dirty. Sadly, those words have to be attached to his otherwise productive career in Motown. Suh, a Pro Bowl starter in his rookie season in 2010, soiled his great play in the middle of the Lions' top-ranked defensive line time and time again.
Suh, who is a free agent after the season, has been to the Pro Bowl just about as many times as he's been suspended. In addition, he’s been fined $216,875 by the league for four previous violations for playing too rough and outside of the rules. Because of it, Suh was voted by his peers in a Sporting News' poll "the dirtiest player" in the NFL. In 2012, in a Forbes-publicized Nielsen report, Suh was named the NFL's "Least-Liked Player."
On Sunday, the Lions play their biggest game of the season. Yet Suh won't be there. Suh just couldn't help himself, couldn't resist doing something dirty when the opportunity present itself.
The word out there is that Suh – who has already turned down a new contract to be the highest-paid player at his position by the Lions – will bounce from Detroit. The buzz is that he wants to play in NYC, possibly for the Jets. Suh wants the bright lights in hopes of being a TV star after his playing days are over a la former New York Giants defensive star Michael Strahan.
This way out of town should never have happened. That's why Coach Jim Caldwell was brought here. He was supposed to clean up all the dumb and dirty plays that the Lions had become infamous for under Coach Jim Schwartz.
Suh, of course, will appeal this suspension, but it's hard to imagine that he will win. After all, he's a two-time offender.
The Lions know it's a big blow to their chances of winning in Dallas. "I don't know if I can put it into words," Lions' safety James Ihedigbo said to the media on Monday. "He's a dominant force in our defense. He's kind of the key centerpiece. We have faith in guys that can step up and fill that void and do the best job they can to get this win and help us out. It's unfortunate, whatever way you want to slice it. You're losing one of your best defensive players and one of the best D-linemen in the league, it’s unfortunate."
The only thing worse than Suh missing this playoff game is that this is the second starter in two weeks to get suspended for the same incident. Center Dominic Raiola was suspended by the league for Sunday's game at Green Bay after intentionally stepping on the ankle of the Bears' defensive tackle Ego Ferguson a week earlier.
Had Suh matured and stopped being selfish, he would have never put his team in a position to lose two different players via suspension for the same thing in back-to-back weeks.
Fans had big dreams for the Lions. After all, they finished 11-5 and are attempting to win a playoff game for the first time since 1991. In fact, the Lions are trying to win their first road playoff game in 57 years.
The Lions need all of their players to break this unreal streak, especially Suh. That's why Caldwell had to get Suh in the right frame of mind, particularly because of his history. Suh's first foot action was caught on national TV on Thanksgiving Day in 2011. Suh was suspended for two games after stomping the arm of then-Packers' center Evan Dietrich-Smith.
Last season, Suh was fined $100,000 for an illegal low block on Minnesota Vikings' center John Sullivan. Suh has also been fined for playing rough against six quarterbacks, including Chicago's Jay Cutler and Cincinnati's Andy Dalton.
So instead of bolting Detroit as a hero, helping the Lions finally win a postseason game, Suh will probably exit being public enemy No. 1.
Sadly, it totally fits.