Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been suspended one game by the NFL for stepping on the leg of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.
Suh is expected to appeal the suspension, and when he does, the hearing officer will be Ted Cottrell, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Suh stepped on Rodgers' leg during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 30-20 Packers victory, which clinched the NFC North for Green Bay. Rodgers had injured the leg earlier in the game while throwing a short touchdown pass to receiver Randall Cobb.
Suh was not flagged on the play.
In the NFL's official ruling on the suspension, Rodgers was described as "in a defensless posture." After Suh backed up and stepped on Rodgers' leg, Suh did so again with his other foot, "applying pressure and unnecessarily pushing off Rodgers’ unprotected leg with his left foot, violating playing rules prohibiting unnecessary roughness."
In a letter to Suh explaining the suspension, NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks said:
"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 be prohibited from attending team activities or appearing at the Lions' facilities. Detroit (11-5) travels to Dallas to play the Cowboys (12-4) in the first round of the NFL playoffs on Sunday and his absence would be a huge loss for Detroit.
Suh has a history of running afoul of the league's player safety rules. In 2011, he was suspended for two games after stomping on the arm of former Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith. He's scheduled to become a free agent this offseason and could eclipse J.J. Watt's six-year, $100 million extension to become the league's highest paid defensive player.
- Mike Fiammetta