DETROIT — Ndamukong Suh was fined $100,000 for his low block on Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan on Tuesday, but the Detroit Lions’ all-pro defensive tackle avoided the second suspension of his career.
The fine, the sixth of Suh’s career, is one of the largest in league history.
Suh was not available for comment in the locker room on Tuesday, but teammates said he apologized for the play, which negated DeAndre Levy’s interception return for a touchdown, in a team meeting Tuesday morning.
“He just basically said that he can’t make those type of mistakes and he can’t put us in the position where we’ve got to battle back from mistakes like that,” receiver Nate Burleson said. “And he also said with him having a target and people looking for him, they’re looking at us in the same light. So as a team we’ve got to understand that the microscope is on us.”
After Suh finished talking, Burleson said a few players screamed out, “We love you Suh.”
“We’re a family,” Burleson said. “I think we hugged and kissed after that, sang kumbaya. It’s all good, baby.”
But for all their support, teammates won’t be chipping in to pay off a fine that sent shock waves through the locker room for its largesse.
When told how much Suh was fined, Burleson leaned back in shock.
“Oh, baby,” he said. “For real? Are you serious? A hundred stacks? No, there’s not much love in the world, man. I’ll send him a card on Valentine’s Day, but I don’t love him that much (to chip in).”
An NFL official said Monday the league was considering suspending Suh for the block because he’s considered a repeat violator of player-safety rules.
Suh was suspended two games for stomping on the arm of Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving of 2011, and he was fined five times in his first three NFL seasons.
As a rookie, Suh was fined twice for hits on quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Jay Cutler and once for using an opponent for leverage on a field goal. In 2011, he was docked $20,000 for a preseason hit on Andy Dalton. And last year, Suh was fined $30,000 for kicking Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin on Thanksgiving.
By levying a six-figure punishment on Tuesday, the league sent a clear message that further violations likely will lead to a suspension.
Including Tuesday’s fine, Suh has lost more than $342,000 in fines and missed game checks due to player-safety violations. He’s made more than $51.7 million in his career from the Lions so far.