Ndamukong Suh, nicknamed “Ducky” by teammates with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, seems like the last person that would carry a nickname like that lightly. Suh was given that nickname by former Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz who said it was because he resembled a character in the 1988 movie “Land Before Time”.
Projected to go in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft, the junior decided to return to Lincoln for his senior season instead. All he did that next season was win the Outland trophy, the Lombardi award, the Bronko Nagurski trophy, the Chuck Bednarik award, the AP Player of the Year, and was a unanimous All-American.
You may remember that Suh was Drafted by the Detroit Lions at #2 in the 2010 NFL draft. The Buccaneers would draft Gerald McCoy with the very next pick at #3. Some speculated that the Buccaneers would have drafted the Cornhusker were he still available.
Suh would have a monster rookie campaign with 10 sacks, 49 solo tackles, 17 assisted tackles, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery. Oh, yeah, almost forgot, he also picked up the hardware for NFL Rookie of the Year. Suh spent more time in opposing team backfields than their own personnel.
An All-Pro five times (3 first team, 2 second team) and five Pro Bowls in his first five seasons in 2015 Suh would become the highest paid defensive player ever when he inked a six-year contract with the Miami Dolphins for a $114 million, $60 million of which was guaranteed.
After spending last season lining up next to Aaron Donald and appearing in the Super Bowl with the Rams, Suh now brings his talents to Tampa Bay, and a new defensive scheme under DC Todd Bowles. Suh’s history in a 3-4 scheme no doubt was a deciding factor in bringing the veteran in for the 2019 season.
There have been those who accuse Suh of playing past the whistle, and being a little dirty. There was the below the belt kick to Texans QB Matt Schaub, the $70,000 fine for stepping on the leg of Aaron Rodgers, and of course the two game suspension for slamming the head of and stepping on the arm of Green Bay, and current Buccaneer offensive lineman Evan (Dietrich-Smith) Smith. Suh had been fined eight times thru 2014 for a total of $255,375. Seven times for player safety violations.
The Buccaneers say pot(ay)to, po(ta)to, he is one of them now and there is no aggression that’s too aggressive. Actually, that last line slipped out, but weren’t you shaking your head a little in agreement. Don’t lie.
So which Ndamukong Suh did the Buccaneers bring in for the 2019 season. The mad man from Lincoln that wreaked havoc at every turn. Or the professional pillager that also wreaked havoc, but at times a little too aggressively. Could this be the consummate professional that now with a NFC Championship on his resume is looking to be a part of an exciting next chapter here in Tampa Bay?
The Buccaneers have a couple of months to find out, but here’s to hoping that Suh and the rest of the defense have a lot of opposing quarterbacks “ducking” for cover.