Ndamukong Suh: Is the Lions Defensive Lineman Really the NFL's Dirtiest Player?

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Ndamukong Suh: Is the Lions Defensive Lineman Really the NFL's Dirtiest Player?
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In The Sporting News' annual poll of NFL players, Ndamukong Suh "won" the dubious distinction of being voted the dirtiest player in the NFL for the second year in a row.

Well, it's not official yet; we're still waiting for the results from Florida.

Suh received 32 out of 106 votes, followed by fellow "dirty player" mainstays such as Miami Dolphins left guard Richie Incognito, Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan and Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

But does Suh really play dirtier than either of those individuals? Yes, he does.

Incognito's transgressions usually come from opposing players upset as his tactics, but for the most part, in the last two years, the accusations tend to come more from his well-earned reputation. Incognito seems to have cleaned up a bit, at least according to how much he has paid in fines to the league and how often he's been penalized in the last two years (no fines, and most of his penalties are the more benign and normal holding and false-start varieties, no chop blocks).

Cortland Finnegan is dirty for a cornerback, and he does get under the skin of opposing receivers. In fact, he once got the normally genteel Andre Johnson to have this reaction:

He's a dirty player, but much like Incognito, it's more of a reputation thing nowadays.

Of course, we can't forget James Harrison, who at this point would probably prefer the NFL to allow him to direct deposit his fines into their account prior to games. I can't really call him a dirty player because, even on hits he does get fined for, they look fairly clean.

He's a throwback player if anything.

But Suh is a different story. Just ask Jay Cutler after taking this hit:

Or ask Cutler again after he got his helmet ripped off here:

Or ask him again after this hit that looked like it could have separated Cutler's shoulder:

That hit actually caused Brandon Marshall to say this about Suh:

Ouch. But perhaps Suh's most famous transgression came last year on Thanksgiving, when he thought he was working at a vineyard stomping on grapes when it was Evan Dietrich-Smith's arm:

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This stomp would earn Suh an ejection from the contest as well as a two-game suspension, even though at first he denied that he was trying to stomp Deitrich-Smith. The video evidence, however, doesn't seem to agree with his denial, which is why he wound up apologizing for it the day after the game.

Suh had been reprimanded by the league five times for his conduct on the field since entering the league in 2010, and while 2012 has been relatively quiet for him, he still manages to stir up controversy with his style of play.

It was fair that players consider Suh to be the dirtiest player in the league. Everything he's shown on the field points to that being the case. He's a great player who does play hard, and he's actually, by all accounts, a very nice man off the field. But he doesn't have to play so dirty when he's on the field to play well.

For once, I recommend someone take Brandon Marshall's advice. That's actually pretty scary.

 

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