In a surprising reversal, the NFL has overturned its suspension of Detroit Lions defensinve lineman Ndamukong Suh for this Sunday’s NFC Wild Card Game. With Ndamukong Suh reinstated for the Lions vs Cowboys game, Dallas QB Tony Romo will face the full onslaught of the NFL’s top-ranked defense.
Romo has battled several back injuries this year stemming from off-season surgery and some mid-season hits. As such, Romo will have to watch his back — perhaps literally — while the Cowboys’ offensive line will need to pay particular attention to the Lions’ defensive front with Ndamukong Suh reinstated.
Suh had initially been suspended for stomping on the leg of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers after two separate plays on Sunday. However, an independent arbitrator on Tuesday overturned Suh’s Wild Card suspension, instead hitting him with a $70,000 fine.
Suh had appealed his one-game suspension shortly after it came down from the NFL. The arbitrator agreed with his appeal in record time, though the fine still sent a message to Suh and other players who would consider unnecessarily rough behavior.
“Ted Cottrell, the hearing officer in the appeal of Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions of his one-game suspension, has reduced the discipline to a $70,000 fine,” the NFL said in a prepared statement. “Cottrell is jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFL Players Association to hear and decide appeals for on-field player discipline.”
According to the Detroit Lions website, “Cottrell, obviously, did not agree with [NFL VP of Football Operations Merton] Hanks’ assessment. He wasn’t alone. A number of other individuals, including former NFL executive and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian, former vice president of officiating Mike Pereira and even referee Walt Anderson, who ran the officiating crew of the Lions-Packers game, also sided with Suh.
‘Listen, Suh stepped on Aaron Rodgers and I firmly believe if it wasn’t Suh and it was another no-name who didn’t have history and it wasn’t Aaron Rodgers, it wouldn’t have led to any fine at all,’ Pereira said.
“‘Referee Walt Anderson, he sent a text into the league after the game saying he saw the whole thing and in real time he never read any intent. Slow motion makes it a little different, but to me, is this egregious for a suspension? No.'”