Nov 28, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) in the end zone for a safety during the third quarter during a NFL football game on Thanksgiving at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Ndamukong Suh's Fitness, Not Contract, The Most Important Camp Variable For Detroit Lions

It’s become another rough week for Ndamukong Suh in the headlines, and this time, all he did was return to Detroit Lions’ training camp on time and in shape!

As soon as ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Lions’ officials weren’t feeling optimistic about retaining Suh’s services via contract extension, the hits on the player, which had temporarily stopped if only for the NFL’s dead period between the middle of June and late July, started coming again.

Suh doesn’t love Detroit.

Suh must prove he loves the city fast by signing a contract extension now.

This indignity is just the latest move which proves that Suh’s a malcontent player and a personality who cannot be trusted. The team should trade him now and get value.

Enough is enough. Apparently, in the eyes of some, it wasn’t good enough that Detroit’s defensive tackle, who plenty had previously and wrongfully worried wasn’t taking the offseason seriously enough, came back to camp in reportedly the best shape of his young playing career.

This, from MLive’s Kyle Meinke:

“The good news: Suh, known throughout the league for his tremendous conditioning, appears to have whipped himself into even better shape for this season,” Meinke wrote.

“Whether that’s in anticipation of playing through a contract year remains to be seen. Either way, that’s good news for a Lions defense that could use all the pressure it can get up front.”

“The guy looks more like Adonis now,” center Dominic Raiola said. “He cut out more fat and put on more weight, which is scary.”

Shouldn’t that be the only thing that matters at this point? Shouldn’t Suh, who currently owes the Lions nothing but a hard season on the practice and playing field, be given credit for finally behaving like a team leader? Certainly. The fact that Suh showed up to camp motivated and in fantastic shape is bigger news than July contract talks should ever be. If Suh truly hated the Lions, he could mail-in the 2014 season starting with conditioning and training camp. That’s not been the case.

The fact that Suh showed up to camp motivated and in fantastic shape is bigger news than July contract talks should ever be.

It seems that now, it’s the goal of many to drive Suh out of town with a smear campaign which ruthlessly scrutinizes his every move. If he takes his dog for a walk instead of hammering out the details of an extension, he must hate the Lions and the city of Detroit. If he refuses to talk about the situation and decides to focus only on football, it’s a sign that he doesn’t care about the franchise or his teammates, most figure.

What Detroit needs from Suh is a healthy, impactful season in the middle of the line. If the defensive tackle provides that, the other chips will fall will they may later on, and work themselves out in the wash. The same can be said for Detroit Tigers’ ace pitcher Max Scherzer, who must be feeling exactly like Suh at this very moment thanks to his own public contract situation which seems headed for a dramatic, uncertain finish.

Certainly, not everything Suh has done has been perfect or worth defending, and he’s not a choir boy. That doesn’t mean that every move Suh makes has to be vilified, however. Some things take time to work themselves out, including complicated contract situations with plenty of moving parts and different people at play.

For now, celebrate the fact that Suh’s in shape and looking poised for a big season. As the dog days of training camp begin, that’s all that really matters.

Tags: Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh

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