Haloti Ngata And The N’DoubleKong Standard


There have been two sets of OTAs this offseason and the Detroit Lions star defensive tackle is still nowhere to be found. That story line should be as familiar to Lions fans as honolulu blue is to silver. In fact stories about Ndamukong Suh’s absence at OTAs and voluntary team workouts were so common over the last few seasons that blog posts on the subject almost wrote themselves.

Now with Suh having taking his talents to South Beach it appears the Lions new star defensive tackle is following in his footsteps.  The difference is no one cares.

Ndamukong Suh was often absent during OTAs and voluntary team workouts opting instead to pursue his own offseason workout program. It was common practice for Suh to show up in Allen Park only when required by contract, leading most Detroit Lions fans to the conclusion that Suh didn’t really want to be part of the team and was planning his escape from Mo-Town.

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So where is the criticism of Haloti Ngata for doing almost the exact same thing? Where are the stories in the media about Ngata’s refusal to take part in team activities? Why aren’t the fans screaming with the same vitriol about Ngata’s absense?

The answer is pretty simple. He is a nice guy.

The average Detroit sports fan wants performance on the field but they also want their superstar players to be “nice guys” while doing it.

Saying that Ndamukong Suh didn’t project a nice guy persona is a vast understatement.  His intense style of play earned him the dubious distinction of being the dirtiest player in the NFL. Additionally he made almost zero effort to embrace the Detroit media and as a result was painted as a discontent, aloof, rulebreaker who put his own interests ahead of the team and the community it represents.

The reality of Ndamukong Suh’s committment to the Detroit Lions was much different than the perception. Love him or hate him, Suh was always ready on game day both physically and mentally. He never missed a game due to injury during his time in Detroit while maintaining his status as the best at his position in the NFL.  Suh’s high level of committment continued off the field as he became the most charitable athlete in America in 2014. 

Ngata’s approach with the media stands in stark contrast to that of Suh’s and it has paid off.  Although he admitted press conferences weren’t his strong suit, Ngata has answered questions even if he really doesn’t have the answers.  He has spent time with the media and at the very least has made an effort to establish a relationship with the fans through them.  As a result fans are already plotting ways to resign the aging defensive tackle instead of running him out-of-town, even though his declining skill set is less than that of the departed Suh.

Guess my Grandma was right.  You can catch more bees with honey.

Next: The Danger In Extending Haloti Ngata