NFL: Suh’s stomp earns 2-game suspension
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) – Ndamukong Suh’s stomp will cost him two games.
The NFL suspended Detroit’s All-Pro defensive tackle on Tuesday for roughing up a Green Bay Packers player in front of a national television audience during a loss on Thanksgiving Day. Suh will miss Sunday night’s game at New Orleans and a Dec. 11 home game against Minnesota and he won’t be paid until he is reinstated Dec. 12.
Suh called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Sunday to apologize, but it didn’t seem to help. He has three days to appeal the suspension and if he does, the league plans to expedite the hearing to make a decision before the Lions play the Saints.
“We respect the process the league undertook in order to arrive at this decision,” the Lions said in a statement before Tuesday afternoon’s practice. The team will have a roster exception during Suh’s suspension.
Message seeking comment were left by The Associated Press with Suh’s agent and sister. Suh can’t practice or be at the Lions’ practice facility during the suspension.
Earlier this season, the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year requested a meeting with Goodell to discuss his play after he drew several penalties. Suh said he had a better understanding of the rules after that meeting.
Instead, he will be watching his teammates scramble to keep up in the NFC wild-card race after what the league was his fifth violation of on-field rules in his first two years in the NFL.
And everyone saw this one.
Suh lifted up his right knee and forcibly stepped on the right arm of Green Bay guard Evan Dietrich-Smith during the third quarter of the Lions’ 27-15 loss last Thursday. On the same play, Suh shoved Dietrich-Smith’s helmet toward the turf while separating himself from the Packers player on the ground.
He was ejected for kicking and insisted during his postgame news conference that he didn’t intentionally step on Dietrich-Smith. After the Lions criticized his conduct the next day, Suh issued an apology and the talk of the league was whether he was the NFL’s dirtiest player.
NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks notified Suh of the penalty for “unsportsmanlike conduct” on Tuesday. The suspension was first reported by Fox Sports.
Suh has already been fined three times for roughing up quarterbacks and another time for unsportsmanlike conduct.
He grabbed Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton and threw him to the turf after he had gotten rid of the ball in a preseason game this year. He was docked twice last year for shoving Chicago’s Jay Cutler high in the back and for twisting Cleveland’s Jake Delhomme’s face mask and slamming him to the ground. He also was fined $5,000 during Week 9 in the 2010 season for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Colts bench Painter
in favor of Orlovsky
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The winless Indianapolis Colts are making a change at quarterback, replacing Curtis Painter with veteran Dan Orlovsky.
It will be Orlovsky’s first start since the 2008 season when he played for the 0-16 Detroit Lions.
Painter replaced the injured Kerry Collins late in a Week 3 loss to Pittsburgh. Painter started the next seven games and played well early but then had four straight games with a quarterback rating below 51.0.
The struggles had fans clamoring for a change heading into the bye week, but coach Jim Caldwell stayed with Painter on Sunday against Carolina. After another slow start, Painter rallied the Colts and had them in scoring position twice in the final five minutes. He threw two interceptions in the end zone.
Meanwhile, the Colts fired defensive coordinator Larry Coyer.
The team made the announcement Tuesday. Coach Jim Caldwell, whose own job may be in jeopardy, says the move was made to “improve communication and production.”
Coyer was in his third season with the Colts. He was a defensive assistant for two years in Tampa Bay and in Denver from 2000-06.
The Colts said linebackers coach Mike Murphy will take over the defense.
to play Sunday
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu is free of concussion symptoms and “all things are positive” for the AFC North showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals, coach Mike Tomlin said during a press conference Tuesday.
Polamalu left Sunday’s 13-9 win at Kansas City when his helmet struck the knee of Steve Maneri while Polamalu dove to tackle the tackle-eligible. That marked the second time this season the reigning AP defensive player of the year was forced out of a game due to a blow to the head,
But Tomlin said Polamalu was “asymptomatic…relatively quickly – and I’m talking about Sunday night.”
The Steelers (8-3) and Bengals (7-4), fighting for playoff positioning and chasing the first-place Baltimore Ravens (8-3), meet in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Jaguars being sold
to Illinois businessman
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – The Jacksonville Jaguars have reached an agreement to sell the small-market franchise to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan.
Majority owner Wayne Weaver made the announcement Tuesday, hours after he fired coach Jack Del Rio and gave general manager Gene Smith a three-year contract extension. He said Khan will have 100 percent control of the team.
Weaver called Khan “a great American success story” and said the Pakistan-born entrepreneur will keep the team in Jacksonville.
Khan is the owner and CEO of the Flex-N-Gate Group based in Urbana, Ill. Khan had been a candidate to buy controlling interest in the St. Louis Rams last year.
The sale of the franchise and the firing of Del Rio are the city’s most significant news since the team’s inception in 1993.
Del Rio fired
after 3-8 start
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired coach Jack Del Rio after a 3-8 start, parting ways with him during his ninth season.
Del Rio’s job security had been tenuous since owner Wayne Weaver said the coach needed to make the playoffs to secure a 10th season in Jacksonville. The Jaguars were essentially eliminated with Sunday’s 20-13 loss to Houston.
The Jaguars are struggling to sell tickets and host a Monday night game against San Diego.
Del Rio leaves with a 69-73 record, including 1-2 in two playoffs appearances. The Jaguars didn’t win the AFC South in any of his nine seasons.
Weaver considered firing Del Rio after last season, but kept him partly because of the uncertainty surrounding the NFL lockout.
Bills’ Johnson vows
to ground TD celebrations
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Stevie Johnson’s days of colorful – and sometimes questionable – touchdown celebrations appear to be over.
That’s what the Buffalo Bills receiver suggested Monday, a day after becoming a lightning rod of criticism for a celebration in which he mocked the New York Jets and their receiver Plaxico Burress, and robbed his team of momentum in a 28-24 loss.
After saying he “probably” won’t continue celebrating after scoring, Johnson then added that his extended post-TD demonstration on Sunday would be his last.
Though unfazed by the criticism – former NFL player-turned-TV-analyst Rodney Harrison called the receiver’s antics “dumb” and “immature” – directed at him, Johnson said he’s taken to heart a conversation he had with Bills coach Chan Gailey.
“He was telling me I have to be smarter. I’ve got to be more aware of the situations and rules,” Johnson said. “I’ll listen to every word that he says. That’s my coach.”