scorecardresearch Skip to main content
NFL roundup

Roundup: NFL puts foot down: Lions’ Ndamukong Suh suspended for playoff game

The NFL viewed Ndamukong Suh’s twice stepping on Aaron Rodgers’s left leg as unnecessary roughness.Mark Hoffman/Associated Press

Ndamukong Suh is in trouble with the NFL again.

The Detroit defensive tackle was suspended for Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against Dallas for a violation of safety-related playing rules against Green Bay in the season finale.

The league announced Monday that Suh was suspended for stepping on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’s left leg twice, once with each foot. Suh also applied pressure and pushed off Rodgers’s unprotected leg with his left foot, violating unnecessary roughness rules, the league said in a statement.

Suh, who will be reinstated next Monday, can appeal the suspension within three days. He can ask for an expedited appeal, which would be heard by Ted Cottrell, a hearing officer employed by the NFL and the players’ union.


No hearing is scheduled, but one could happen as soon as Tuesday.

Rodgers had an agitated look after the incident, and Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after the game: ‘‘There’s no place for that. I don’t understand it, frankly.’’

On Monday, McCarthy backed off a bit, saying: ‘‘I was hoping this wouldn’t go this way. That was a hell of a football game played yesterday, and that’s what I really came here to talk about. I'm not here to talk about behavior [of)] players on other teams.’’

Suh did not speak with reporters at the Lions practice facility.

Lions center Dominic Raiola, coming off his own one-game ban for a similar incident, was enraged by the suspension.

‘‘The play . . . he wasn’t even looking at [Rodgers],’’ Raiola said. ‘‘He was getting pushed back a little bit. It was ridiculous what Fox did right after it. It was crazy, watching it. I couldn’t even listen to those guys after he did it.

‘‘There is no way, at that point in the game, that he did something like that on purpose. No way.’’


Added teammate Larry Warford: ‘‘It’s part of what has been happening around here. Obviously, they’re going to be stricter on us. That is just a fact of what happened a week before.

‘‘They’re obviously a lot stricter with our team,’’ Warford continued, referring to the NFL. ‘‘It’s something we have to fight through. A little adversity. We'll make it through.’’

Suh is a repeat offender with a long list of fines and one previous suspension, for two games in 2011 for stepping on the right arm of Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. Suh has been fined seven times in his career, but this is the first in 2014.

Suh was fined $100,000 for an illegal block on Vikings center John Sullivan in Week 1 of 2013 during an interception return. That was the largest fine in NFL history for on-field conduct, not counting suspensions.

The latest suspension was imposed by Merton Hanks, the NFL’s vice president of football operations. Hanks ruled that Suh engaged in a non-football act which placed his opponent at unnecessary risk of injury.

In his letter to Suh, Hanks wrote, ‘‘You did not respond in the manner of someone who had lost his balance and accidentally contacted another player who was lying on the ground. This illegal contact, specifically the second step and push off with your left foot, clearly could have been avoided.’’

Hanks further noted ‘‘you unnecessarily stepped on your opponent’s unprotected leg as he lay on the ground unable to protect himself.’’


Suh will not be permitted to attend team meetings and functions, attend, or watch practices, appear at the club’s facilities for any reason, or have contact with any club personnel except to arrange off-site medical treatment or rehabilitation.

Steelers wait on Bell

The Steelers may have to start the playoffs without Le’Veon Bell.

The running back hyperextended his right knee when he was hit by Cincinnati safety Reggie Nelson in the third quarter of Sunday night’s 27-17 win and did not return.

Coach Mike Tomlin says Bell’s knee did not sustain any major structural damage, but said it is unclear if Bell will be available when the Steelers host Baltimore in the wild-card round on Saturday.

If Bell can’t play, the running back duties will fall to rookies Josh Harris and Dri Archer. The two ran for a combined 56 yards during the season; Harris had a 60-yard run against the Bengals wiped out due to a penalty.

Bell set team season records for all-purpose yards (2,215) and receptions by a running back (83) — and he did it without fumbling once.

Orton goes out a winner

Quarterback Kyle Orton told the Bills that he plans to retire.

The surprise decision places further emphasis on the team’s offseason need to address what’s long been an unsettled position.

The Bills announced Orton’s decision a day after the 10-year journeyman led Buffalo (9-7) to a season-ending 17-9 win at New England.

‘‘It’s just a family decision, and I've decided to get home and be a dad and call it a day,’’ Orton said, in a statement released by the team.


Orton, 32, caught the team off guard when he informed coach Doug Marrone of his plans shortly before the Bills held their end-of-season meetings.

‘‘Right now, it’s still trying to process it,’’ general manager Doug Whaley said. ‘‘We had no inclination that he was thinking to make that decision at this time or down the road. So it was surprising.’’

Despite enjoying its first winning season since a 9-7 finish in 2004, Buffalo missed the playoffs to extend the NFL’s longest active postseason drought to 15 years.

Orton declined to speak to reporters while making a brief appearance at his locker, where he picked up a few of his belongings, including a money clip.

By electing to retire, Orton passes up a chance to make a $5.4 million base salary he was due next year after making $2.5 million this season.

‘‘I can’t be disappointed with a guy that says his heart’s not in it,’’ Whaley said. ‘‘I respect his decision. I respect what he brought to our team this year. And we wish him nothing but the best.’’

Orton was already contemplating retirement in July when he was cut by the Cowboys after failing to attend the team’s spring minicamps. The Bills signed him to a two-year contract with a little more than a week before the start of the season.

Initially brought in to mentor EJ Manuel, Orton wound up replacing the second-year player after a 2-2 start.

Orton provided an initial spark in going 3-1 in his first four starts before he and the offense sputtered down the stretch. He finished 7-5 with 3,018 yards passing with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.


With a 42-40 record as a starter, Orton was Chicago’s fourth-round pick in 2005, and also played in Denver and Kansas City.

Quarterback shuffles are nothing new in Buffalo. The Bills haven’t had a starter last beyond three years since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly retired following the 1996 season. Including Orton, the Bills have now had 11 quarterbacks start at least eight games over the past 18 seasons.

Colts getting healthy

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he anticipated having most of his injured players back this week and available for Sunday’s home playoff game against the Bengals.

The two-time AFC South champions have been riddled with injuries over the second half of the season, particularly along the offensive line where the Colts have used 10 starting combinations this season.

Pagano is optimistic that tight end Dwayne Allen (knee), safety Sergio Brown (bruised hand), right tackle Gosder Cherilus (groin), inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (hamstring), guard Joe Reitz (ankle), and receiver Reggie Wayne (groin, triceps) will all be on the practice field this week. Two players, backup offensive lineman A.Q. Shipley (left ankle) and outside linebacker Bjoern Werner (shoulder), are considered day to day.

Pagano also said the team is awaiting test results on right guard Hugh Thornton, who was carted off the field after injuring his right shoulder in the regular-season finale Sunday.

The Colts are still trying to beat the clock on ticket sales, too. Chief operating officer Pete Ward said there were about 7,000 tickets remaining about 30 minutes before the Colts’ offices closed Monday.

Manziel apologizes

Johnny Manziel says the party’s over. The Browns want to believe him.

The high-profile rookie quarterback apologized to his Browns teammates — and Cleveland fans — for a season of distractions and vowed again to change.

Manziel was fined over the weekend by the team after he missed a medical treatment for a hamstring injury. Manziel said he overslept, but denied he threw a party Friday night that also caused star wide receiver Josh Gordon to miss a team walkthrough and draw a suspension for the season finale in Baltimore.

Just last week, Manziel, who made two starts after replacing Brian Hoyer, promised a new approach.

‘‘It’s about actions,’’ Manziel said. ‘‘It’s about being accountable and doing what I'm going to say.’’

The Browns have heard Manziel make similar promises in the past and are counting on him to keep his word.

‘‘He realizes this, that at some point, talk is cheap,’’ coach Mike Pettine said. ‘‘To me, the actions are much more important than what he says.’’

Manziel, 22, shot down reports he hosted a party that was attended by teammates, including the troubled Gordon, who Pettine said is ‘‘squarely in a crossroads with us’’ because of his many missteps the past two seasons.

Manziel said he let his ‘‘guard down a little bit’’ and went out Friday night with friends who were visiting from Kerrville, Texas. When he was late for his treatment Saturday, the Browns sent security personnel to his home.

‘‘It was a mistake by me,’’ he said. ‘‘At the same time, you can sit here and say and talk and say this all you want, but when your actions don’t reflect that, and you make a conscious decision to put yourself in the position that you stay out too late and not wake up the next morning, that’s going to cause a lot of trouble, so I did that to myself. I brought this on myself.’’

Manziel acknowledges he’s responsible for much of the media commotion surrounding the team.

‘‘I don’t think it’s fair to anybody in this locker room the distractions I've brought at points in time,’’ he said. ‘‘So I'm sorry to these guys that are veterans in this locker room and know what it takes, that I'm having to learn the hard way.’’

He added, tellingly, that he better do that or there will be consequences.

‘‘I'm either going to learn or I'm going to be finding something else to do,’’ he said.

Pettine, who also suspended rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert for ‘‘multiple violations’’ of team rules for Sunday’s game, said Manziel has no excuse for being late for treatment.

‘‘We hold the quarterback to a higher standard than everybody else,’’ he said. ‘‘That just comes with the territory at that position. Has his behavior been disappointing? Absolutely.’’

Concussion for Green

Bengals receiver A.J. Green is being evaluated for a concussion after a hard hit knocked him out of the game Sunday. It’s unclear whether he’ll be available to practice later in the week or to play on Sunday . . . Cowboys coach Jason Garrett essentially ruled out defensive tackle Henry Melton against Detroit because of a right knee injury sustained against Washington. Garrett said it was not a torn anterior cruciate ligament . . . Rams guard Rodger Saffold will undergo left shoulder surgery next month for an injury that’s bothered him throughout the year . . . Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Sunday’s season finale at Houston.

Rivers may need surgery

Quarterback Philip Rivers isn’t sure if he’s going to need surgery on his ailing back now that the Chargers’ season is over.

‘‘I can’t rule it out but it’s too early to know,’’ Rivers said a day after the Chargers’ season ended with a 19-7 loss at Kansas City.

A victory would have clinched a wild-card spot for the Chargers. Instead, Rivers was sacked seven times, was intercepted twice and lost a fumble as the Chiefs overwhelmed the Chargers’ line.

Rivers had been listed on the injury report in recent weeks as having chest and back injuries.

Reports surfaced that Rivers had a bulging disc in his lower back.

Asked to confirm or deny it, he said: ‘‘I just don’t think there’s any reason to confirm it. Can’t deny it, but it’s not exactly accurate.’’

Rivers said talking about his injuries ‘‘does no good. It’s self-serving, really, to tell you anything, because then it’s like, ‘Oh, well that’s why this and that happened.’ My injuries had nothing to do with whether I threw it good or threw it bad.’’

Rivers was intercepted seven times in the final three games. He finished the season with 4,286 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions.

The Chargers lost three of their last four games, and will miss the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.