Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said he wanted to take on a bigger leadership role this season. The departure of vocal defensive leaders like Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams has left a void and Suh felt he was ready to fill it.
While Lions fans might hear that and look for Suh to be more of a rah-rah guy than he has been in the past, it is what he does off the field that may be more important.
Making the transition from college football to the NFL can be difficult for any player. All the more for Ziggy Ansah who grew up on another continent and has been playing football for a few years. It looks like so far so good for Ansah on the eve of his professional debut and Ndamukong Suh is a big reason why.
He’s been there for the very beginning after learning the Lions were considering taking Ansah in the 2013 NFL Draft. A recent Sports Illustrated feature on Ansah details just how hands-on Suh has been in helping Ansah as he settles in with the Lions:
“I liked the way he played,” Suh said. “Plus, I knew he was African. So there was a connection there and I knew we’d get along. I wanted to get him out on the streets to see what Detroit was like.”
After Ansah arrived in town, the entire defensive line took him out for dinner to celebrate his birthday. A few nights later Suh made arrangements for the linemen to watch a Tigers game from pitcher Justin Verlander’s private suite. It was Ansah’s first time seeing a Major League Baseball game. “The food in the suite was great,” Ansah said. “The game was pretty good, too.”
Suh even arranged rides for Ansah since he doesn’t have a car.
“The best lines I’ve played on from college to the pros were the ones where the guys all hung out on and off the field,” Suh said. “We had a bond. We had each other’s back. We hung around each other and knew we could rely on each other.”
The entire article is a great read and offers a lot of insight into Ansah and how the Lions are approaching their talented by raw prospect.