Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has gotten a reputation as a dirty player and an awful human being amongst NFL fans and players alike. That unsavory reputation was enhanced on Thanksgiving Day when, with the whole world watching, he opted to smash Evan Dietrich-Smith’s head into the field and then stomp on his head.
But is Suh as horrible of a person as we were led to believe post-Thanksgiving Day, or was he maliciously set up and antagonized by members of the Green Bay Packers? According to ex-Green Bay lineman Matt Brock, offensive line coach James Campen may have sent out the order to his guys to try to get under Suh’s delicate skin with mildly childish behavior.
Here is what Brock had to say recently on KXTG in Portland Ore., as per MLive.com
The center, or one of his guards, he's had like one or two starts in his career and he's got to play against Suh. So he's pretty puckered, right? So, he talking to James, the offensive line coach, going, "What do I do? What do I do?"
James is just in his mind going, "This guy is going to get killed. I got to take his mind off it, give him something else to do." So he says, "Ok, every time you're in a pile, I want you to focus on something. I want you to untie his shoes."
He goes, "What?"
"Anytime you can, just reach in, he's got floppy shoe laces, he doesn't spat or anything, just untie his shoes. It will irritate him."
He untied his shoes three times in the game. That's why he stomped him. That's why he banged his head on the ground and he stomped him. When (Suh) went to the sideline it looked like he was telling the coach, "I didn't do anything" and he put his foot up like, "I didn't stomp him. I didn't do anything." He was actually going, "The damn guy keeps untying my shoes."
So, there you have it. Maybe Suh isn’t a horrible guy who slams people into the ground and stomps on their heads for no reason. Maybe he’s a horrible guy who slams people into the ground and stomps on their heads because they repeatedly fiddle with his shoelaces.
Ed. Note: Both Dietrich-Smith and Campen have come out and denied this tale, as you'd probably expect they would. Via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
“No, absolutely not,” Campen said. “We have more important things to worry about than tying up someone’s shoes during the game.”
“That’s a complete fabrication,” Dietrich-Smith added. “Complete lie. I was never told anything and there were no acts of that sort. You can go back and watch the film but you won’t see me on the ground trying to untie shoes.”