Ndamukong Suh vows to change his bad boy image

From the moment his cleat stomped into Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving 2011, Ndamukong Suh has had trouble escaping the bad boy image he created for himself.

Two years later, Suh is finally putting his foot down — figuratively.

In an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio, the Lions’ star defensive lineman vowed to shed the reputation that’s haunted him since that fateful Turkey Day.

“It’s obviously tainted me and given me a bad rep, and well-deserved in that instance, but I don’t think one moment in somebody’s life is going to define them,” Suh said, via ProFootballTalk.com. “I’ve vowed, not only to myself personally, but to my family and my teammates and coaches not to have that happen again and not have situations like that that’s going to hurt them or make them feel that they can’t be proud of me or want me as a teammate.”

“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 my life that I’ve had.”

Suh is quietly enjoying a solid 2013 campaign. He’s notched 32 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and a forced fumble as Detroit’s front seven has become a force to reckon with. Suh owes the success to a rise in maturity.

“I think I’ve definitely grown up quite a bit just understanding that if you’re not growing up, you’re just moving backward,” Suh said. I’m a person that always wants to move forward, 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 now.”

For someone who gained such a large amount of notoriety so quickly, it’s encouraging to see Suh willing to turn over a new leaf. Whether he actually does, however, certainly bears watching.

(Photo credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, MSN.com, FanSided.com, and About.com. Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (zpkelb@gmail.com).
  • pppooolll

    Suh will go down as one of the greatest players in his position before it is all said and done. He is a beast on the field and has been a generous and upstanding guy off it. He gives more of his salary than any other player in any other sport to charity. he play for a team that has been historically bad and has done so with a chip on his shoulder that (like it or not) that team and town needed.

    Sadly I think his reputation has been self-sustaining. He has a scarce few personals in the last 2 years – and a lot of the ones he’s gotten (the ridiculous blocking one from the Vikings game comes to mind) are clearly being thorwn at his image, and not the play

    I am glad he is having some success this year – and am hoping that the City of Detroit will be able to watch this defensive line for years to come. I live in Minneapolis, but I bleed silver and blue – and I love defending our defense.

    Keep on dropping QBs/RBs and anyBs, bro!