If Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines to the NFL for personal foul penalties and questionable hits, wants to try any of his antics Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field, Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders said he and his teammates will stand up for themselves.
“We’re definitely not going to get bullied,” Sanders said. “That’s not going to happen around here. Nobody is going to bully no one around here. But you don’t want to put your team in a bad position where you get a personal foul or anything of that sort. As far as matching their intensity, we’re definitely going to match their intensity. No one is going to walk over us.”
Since being drafted No. 2 overall in 2010, Suh has been fined by the NFL seven times for more than $200,000. He has been fined twice this season for $131,500, including a $100,000 fine for a low block on Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman John Sullivan on an interception return in the season opener. He also was fined for a hit on Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden.
“You’ve seen stuff on tape,” Sanders said. “You know about Ndamukong Suh. He’s paid the NFL offices a lot of money. It’s evident. Everyone knows who the dirtiest player in the league is right now. And he takes pride in that.
“He takes pride in being one of the dirtiest players because, on defense, you have to have that mentality. But we’re not going to get bullied. They can come in with all the intensity in the world, but we just have to match it.”
Suh isn’t the only Lions player with a reputation. Fellow defensive tackle Nick Fairley was flagged for a late hit on Bears quarterback Josh McCown last week that aided a late scoring drive that could have resulted in a tie had the Lions not thwarted a two-point conversion attempt.
While Sanders called Suh dirty, offensive coordinator Todd Haley said he’d like to have Suh and Fairley on his team. But, since they’re not, he must find a way to scheme against them Sunday.
“They’re aggressive,” Haley said. “It starts with [Fairley] and [Suh], and that’s their demeanor and that’s the way they play. Those are the types of players you’d love to have on your team, but you don’t like them when they’re on another team.
“I’ve got to give all due respect to how they play and how hard [they play]. They’re like any kind of good, nasty defense. They’re going to push it to the limit.
“We’ve got to worry about us and make sure we’re executing and playing fast and physical and protecting the football and getting the ball in the end zone when we get down there. That’s what we’ll be focused on, and we can’t worry a whole bunch about how they’re handling it.”
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum and his fellow offensive linemen are going to have to deal with Detroit’s front the most, but he is not worried about their tactics.
“You just don’t feed into it,” Beachum said. “Some of the stuff is extra stuff. You have to play to the whistle, play to the echo of the whistle. You don’t want to hurt the team with personal fouls. You have to be smart, but play tough and play hard.”
Could the Steelers try to egg on the Lions and attempt to bait them into penalties?
“You don’t go out seeking to do something stupid,” he said. “You play the game. You play it hard and fight and do what you need to do.”
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @rayfitt1.