The problem with dirty players in the NFL is fans of their team might love them, but fans and players of the other 29 teams hate their guts. That’s largely the case for Buccaneers’ defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. Suh came into the league as a promising star with limitless potential, but a slew of cheap shots on the field turned the entire league against him. Is he still the most hated player in the NFL today?
Ndamukong Suh came into the NFL as a dominant defensive prospect
Everyone knew Ndamukong Suh was a future NFL star from the second he stepped on Nebraska’s campus in 2005. The 6-foot-4, 313-pound lineman had the rare combination of size and quickness that’s rarely found on the collegiate level.
In his junior season, Suh exploded for 7.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. He even had two interceptions, and he returned both of them for touchdowns. Suh only got better as a senior.
In his final year at Nebraska, Suh racked up 12 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss for the Cornhuskers. He was such a dominant force that he was invited to the Heisman ceremony and placed fourth in the voting in 2009.
Rarely do defensive lineman even get mentioned in the Heisman conversation. Suh was on such a different level he received more votes than senior Tim Tebow in 2009. His dominance at Nebraska led him to become the No. 2 overall pick by the Lions in the 2010 NFL draft.
Suh derailed his public perception with multiple dirty plays
Suh continued his dominance at the next level by recording 10 sacks in his rookie year with the Lions. He also forced a fumble and returned one for a touchdown in 2010. Suh was named to the Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro as a rookie.
As Suh’s popularity soared, the spotlight grew bigger on the Lions’ superstar. Evidently, it shined too bright and Suh started to lash out on the field.
From kicking players in the helmet to stomping on players during scrums, Suh started committing dirty plays seemingly every game. He even kicked Matt Schaub where the sun doesn’t shine after he let go of the ball one game.
What made Suh’s cheap shots worse was his explanations after the fact. Video evidence showed he clearly committed them intentionally, but he constantly blamed everyone but himself. After getting ejected for stomping on a Packer’s arm in 2011, Suh apologized for “allowing the refs to have an opportunity to take me out of this game.”
The combination of cheap shots and a lack of remorse for them made the entire NFL and its fan base turn against the once-beloved Suh.
Multiple NFL players have called Suh a dirty player
The NFL is a violent sport by nature, but players who take cheap shots risk causing serious and unnecessary injury. NFL players respect physical players, but they loathe dirty players like Suh.
Former Patriot LeGarrette Blount once shared his feelings about Suh after a game against the defensive lineman. “He’s a dirty player,” Blount said. “He’s always been a dirty player, he’s gonna always be a dirty player. There’s no room in the game for that. At some point in time, guys have to defend themselves when (he’s) doing the things that he does.”
Blount isn’t the first NFL star to label Suh a dirty player, and he won’t be the last. Suh took what could’ve been a Hall-of-Fame career highly regarded by fans everywhere and turned it into a hateful legacy filled with more cheap shots than highlights.