Ndamukong Suh wants to change. Not necessarily the way he plays, but how he is perceived because of how he plays.
“It obviously tainted me and given me a bad rep and well-deserved in that instance,” Suh said. “But I don’t think one moment in somebody’s life is going to define them. I vowed, not only to myself personally but my family and to my teammates and coaches not to have that happen again and not have situations like that that is going to hurt them or make them feel that they couldn’t be proud of me or want me as a teammates.
“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 life that I’ve had.”
Suh, of course, has had more than the Dietrich-Smith incident in his career. He’s been fined multiple times for hitting various quarterbacks, including a perceived kick to the groin of Houston quarterback Matt Schaub on Thanksgiving in 2012 and a low block on Minnesota center John Sullivan in Week 1 this season that earned him a $100,000 fine.
He has met with the NFL twice in his career about his actions and has been fined three times this season — for the Sullivan hit, for a hit on Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden that was not penalized and for a throat slash gesture against Tampa Bay last month.
He believes, though, that he has matured as a player.
“I think I’ve definitely grown up quite a bit,” Suh said. “Just understanding that if you’re not growing up, you’re just moving backwards and I’m a person that I always want to grow and learn and not be the smartest person in the room because when you’re not the smartest person in the room, you’re always learning things.
“I’m a learner. That’s how I got to where I am right now is learning from other players and other people. A great guy who is no longer in the league right now who is retired, Kyle Vanden Bosch, I learned a lot from him and I owe him a lot for my success in the NFL.”
- Previously covered University of Michigan for ESPN.com and AnnArbor.com
- Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette