Ndamukong Suh dismisses bad rep: 'I know who I am'


Ndamukong Suh is fully aware of how he's been perceived.

Sure, the three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler is widely regarded as one of the NFL's most disruptive interior defensive players. But he's also been involved in some of the league's most controversial plays, including receiving a massive $100,000 fine in 2013 for an infraction, which has earned him a reputation as one of the league's dirtiest players.

During his introductory news conference with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday, a reporter asked Suh how he goes about changing perceptions on who he really is as a player.

The 32-year-old defensive tackle responded by emphasizing the importance of getting to know a person first through personal interactions, and then making a determination.

"Before you pass judgment on somebody, I always take the time to get to know them either having coffee with them or whatever it may be, and then be able to go from there," Suh told reporters, via the Buccaneers' official website. "I think when people have seen lists of me as you mentioned, it's been in a negative light rather than a positive light and that's due to outlets of media, social media, whatever it may be.

"I can deal with that because I know who I am as a person, I know who my parents are, the kind of child they brought up, and it's irrelevant in my life. I think the people that know me the best see me always in a good light, see the troubles and tribulations I've gone through as any human being goes through in their life."

Suh certainly won't be confused as a passive player on the football field, and the Buccaneers signed him because they want a proven aggressive veteran in the middle of defensive coordinator Todd Boyle's attack-style scheme.

The ability to work with Boyles and defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers in Tampa proved a major attraction for Suh, who visited with both coaches in 2018 during free agency before the defensive tackle signed with the Los Angeles Rams.

"I think Coach [Bruce] Arians also mentioned it in a press conference the other day about being able to attack, be very aggressive, play up the field," Suh said. "Obviously, people have their responsibilities and whatnot, but I've always enjoyed being in attack-style defenses."

In the meantime, it remains to be seen if perceptions of an older Suh will change much on a new team. But it is clear his playing style is viewed as a good fit for what the Buccaneers intend to unleash on opponents in 2019.

And should he remain on any list as a dirty player going forward, Suh appears content to allow what he's accomplished on his career speak for itself.

"Being on a list is good and bad, whatever you want to continue to look at it as," Suh said. "But I've been very lucky and very blessed in this league to play at a high level, and I want to continue to do that."