Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 | 9 p.m.
DETROIT — Ndamukong Suh stood front and center at a team meeting Tuesday and apologized for the low block he threw on Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan, a block that cost the Lions a touchdown, earned him the largest fine for an on-field incident in NFL history and further cemented his reputation as one of the league's dirtiest players.
When he was done, a few of the veterans in the room shouted: "We love you, Suh."
"We're a family," receiver Nate Burleson said. "I think we hugged and kissed after that, sang kumbaya. It's all good, baby."
All good because Suh avoided the second suspension of his career Tuesday when the NFL decided instead to fine him $100,000 and send a message that further violations of player-safety rules won't be tolerated.
Suh, who has been fined five previous times in his NFL career, did not return a text message seeking comment Tuesday, but he said after Sunday's 34-24 victory over the Vikings that he did not intend to hit Sullivan low.
In Tuesday's meeting, he apologized to the team for his penalty and to DeAndre Levy personally for costing him a score.
"He just basically said that he can't make those type of mistakes and he can't put us in the position where we've got to battle back from mistakes like that," Burleson said. "And he also said with him having a target and people looking for him, they're looking at us in the same light. So as a team we've got to understand that the microscope is on us."
An NFL official said Monday the league was considering suspending Suh for the block because he's a repeat offender of player-safety rules.
Suh was suspended two games for stomping on the arm of Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving of 2011, and his five previous fines spread over his first three seasons totaled $77,500.
As a rookie, Suh was fined twice for hits on quarterbacks Jake Delhomme ($7,500) and Jay Cutler ($15,000) and once for using an opponent for leverage on a field goal ($5,000). In 2011, he was docked $20,000 for a hit on Andy Dalton in an exhibition game. And last year, Suh was fined $30,000 for kicking Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin on Thanksgiving.
"When you have a guy who people look at as quote-unquote dirty, a play that might not be as dirty could be deemed as such and you're going to have to deal with the consequences," Burleson said. "So it's tough. I hope he appeals it because I don't think that was worthy of being fined $100,000."
In issuing the fine, the NFL said Suh violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 5 (a) of its rulebook which prohibits blocks below the waist by players of either team after a change of possession.
NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks notified Suh of his punishment on Tuesday.
"He's a teammate of ours and he's a great player, a guy that besides that play wrecked the game for the Vikings," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "He was in the backfield the whole game, caused a pick when (Stephen Tulloch) got his pick. He did a great job, played a great game. It's unfortunate that that had to happen and it kind of overshadowed his performance, but we stick with him. He's a guy that's an integral part of our team and a great player on defense, and hopefully we can put this behind us and just move on."
Including Tuesday's fine and the two game checks he forfeited during his suspension, Suh has lost more than $342,000 for player-safety violations in his NFL career. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, he also has made more than $51.7 million so far.
Previously, the NFL's biggest fine for on-field conduct that did not include a suspension was a $75,000 penalty given to James Harrison for a hit on a defenseless receiver in 2010. That fine was reduced to $50,000 on appeal.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for his role in the 2007 spygate scandal, and Ray Lewis was fined $250,000 for lying to police after a 2000 double murder.
"He has an understanding that we need him on the field for us to be as successful as we want to be, which is why he stood up in front of the team and talked to us," Burleson said. "I think Suh feels as bad about the mistake he made on the field as everybody else is angry about it. We're good with it though. We'll move on and hopefully not cross this bridge again as a team."