Ndamukong Suh needs to improve his image or he may end up like Albert Haynesworth. Luckily for Suh, he can attribute his image problems with his age and immaturity—but that excuse will not pass anymore.
Suh has been one of the biggest forces in the NFL ever since he was drafted by the Detroit Lions with the second pick in the 2010 NFL draft—he has also been one of the least respectful players in the NFL.
In order for Suh to improve his image he need not focus on his past mistakes anymore. Suh needs to look forward and make sure he does not repeat those mistakes again. This is the simplest way for everyone associated with the NFL to forget about Suh’s past as a dirty player.
This does not mean Suh should stop playing at a high level of intensity every game—he just needs to control his temper after the play is dead.
Suh needs to stop stomping on players while they are down, barking at players when they get injured and every other underhanded move that he has made in his short career. For the sake of Detroit Lions fans and the NFL, Suh should make sure to control his temper before his attitude engulfs him then negatively affects his play on this field. Suh does not only hurt his wallet and playing time but he also hurts his team's chances of winning because of the gaping hole he leaves when he is sitting in a hotel room watching his team suffer without him.
If Suh is able to control his temper on the field, he is more than halfway to completely rehabilitating his image. Although controlling his temper may allow for him to change other people’s minds about Suh as a dirty player, it could all go away in a matter of one big hit. This is why Suh needs to add to his rehabilitation process by taking advantage of social media. If Suh needs any advice on how to work the media to rehabilitate his image, he could ask his division rival Jared Allen for advice.
Allen was known as a very dirty player and someone with the off-the-field issues while he was in Kansas City. Once Allen came to Minnesota he continued his same style of play but he would not be scrutinized with the same criticism. The way Allen escaped the title of “dirty player” and “off-the-field problem” was by constantly interacting with the social media, joking around in interviews and creating funny celebrations.
Suh should look to get involved with the media and try to portray a more humorous image. During the few interviews that Suh has had, it seems as if he is a very stoic person whose only goal is to play football and hurt people. Allen and Suh share the same goal on the field, but Allen masks that rugged demeanor with humor and becomes a fan favorite; Suh needs to follow Allen in that regard.
It may be tougher for Suh to become a "jokester" like Allen is because not everyone has the personality traits. However, Suh could get involved with the media in different ways. If Suh really wants to change his image, he can speak to his agent and find ways to get on the NFL Network or ESPN and explain himself to the world more often. During the offseason, many players come on the NFL Network or ESPN and discuss football with the analysts on board. If Suh exposes himself to the world more, people could find a way relate to him and forgive him for his past conduct rather than judging him based off his play—which at this point is not favorable for Suh.
Luckily for Suh, his talent may be unmatched, and if he is able to add a healthy mix of tempter control and media exposure then he will definitely rehabilitate his image on and off the field. If Suh works hard to clear his image, he will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in the NFL for plenty of years to come.
If Suh decides to continue to play the way he does, he may end up like Albert Haynesworth or James Harrison, and watch his skills and production deteriorate because of his poor attitude on and off the field.
Follow me on Twitter for everything NFL/NBA/WWE @ThaFreakness_BR.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.