According to Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, all of the turmoil that follows Ndamukong Suh wherever he goes is just media hype, a figment of all our imaginations.
“We don’t get caught up in that, that’s all in the media,” Johnson said. “When we come to work, all that stuff, all that noise doesn’t even make it through the doors, so I don’t even know what all is going on with Suh, so we’re all good here.”
All righty then Cal, let me lay a few facts on you. Here are your buddy’s accomplishments to date:
2010: $7,500 fine for a late hit on Jake Delhomme. $15,000 fine for a violent shot to the back of Jay Cutler.
2011: $20,000 fine for a late hit on Andy Dalton. Voted dirtiest player in the NFL in Sporting News poll of NFL players. Two-game suspension and two game checks ($164,500) for intentionally stomping on the arm of Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith.
2012: $30,000 fine for intentionally kicking Matt Schaub in the groin.
2013: $100,000 fine, the largest fine in NFL history for a player’s actions on the field for blocking Vikings center John Sullivan below the waist. The following week, Suh was accused by Cardinals tackle Eric Winston of throwing an elbow at his head.
There are a lot of talented folks in the media, but who could make up a record like that?
Besides, how it affects the Lions is their problem.
But how it affects a somewhat high-strung and emotional rookie guard on the Bears offensive line is a question everybody is asking this week as the 3-0 Bears prepare to take on the 2-1 Lions for first place in the NFC North.
Kyle Long and Suh will not be a one-on-one matchup all afternoon Sunday, but they’re going to see an awful lot of each other.
“Suh is obviously a great player, a physical player, someone who prides himself on playing a very aggressive style of football,” Long said. “He’s just a tremendous player.”
When I asked Long specifically how he was preparing for the possibility Suh would do something intended to get in his head or off his game, Long replied “We’re just so concerned with what we’re going to do offensively, it’s less of worrying about what’s going to happen when and more about what we’re going to do if we see this or if we see that and less about responding to them.”
Long has been mature beyond his years from the day he got to Chicago and has been on guard all week long not to create any bulletin board material for the Lions.
Suh, on the other hand, told the Detroit media on Wednesday, “We’ll see how well prepared [Long] is to block me when we play on Sunday. It’s not anything of my concern. I’ll just look forward to digest whoever I have in front of me.”
I’m not sure how much tape Suh’s watched this week, but Long could be a little bigger meal than he’s used to.
If Long was aware of Suh’s comments, he wasn’t biting.
“You know they play their style of football and we play our style,” Long said. “It’ll be a good opportunity for us to battle a little adversity, be mentally tough and be ready to play.
“There’s such a microscope on Suh, people don’t realize the guy opposite him (Nick Fairley) is a tremendous player as well and just as disruptive in his own right. They’re different types of players but obviously exceptional talents.”
The shame of it all is, if not for Suh’s demeanor, he and Fairley probably would be recognized as the best tackle tandem in the league.
And that’s the only thing Kyle Long is planning on responding to Sunday.
• Hub Arkush covers the Bears for Shaw Media and HubArkush.com. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.