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Ben Watson: Ndamukong Suh's character is the issue

The NFL sent a message to Ndamukong Suh on Tuesday, hitting the controversial Detroit Lions defensive tackle with a $100,000 fine for his illegal block during the season opener.

The fine is the largest ever for on-field conduct. As you might expect, it's leading to some strong reactions. At the top of that list is tight end Benjamin Watson, a 10-year veteran now with the New Orleans Saints.

"I don't know that a suspension or the amount of the fine really solves the problem. Honestly, I think it's a character issue," Watson said Tuesday on NFL Network's "Around The League Live." "I think there's something going on here that we need to look deeper.

"A $100,000 fine is obviously an astronomical amount, but because we've seen this happen multiple times, I don't think it's about the amount. I think it's about players getting on players and him deciding that, 'Hey, I'm going to abide by the rules.' I mean we're out here trying to work, we all have mouths to feed. We come to work every day hoping to go to a safe workplace, and he is making it a danger for a lot of guys, and his conduct needs to stop."

Watson believes the Lions need someone who can get through to the talented defensive tackle.

"A touchdown came off the board, and at some point, it's going to cost the game," he said. "So if you care about your team, if you care about the guys that you're in the game with, you're going to play within the rules. Again, player safety, guys are out there trying to earn a living, guys are out there going to work, and it's frustrating to me as a player -- and especially as an offensive player -- when a guy continues to do these sorts of things."

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, also commented on the matter.

"I have reached out to Ndamukong Suh. We believe that all players have a basic responsibility to each other," Smith said, via Twitter.

The record-setting discipline for Suh made John Sullivan a footnote to history. The Minnesota Vikings center was the recipient of Suh's cheap shot, but he chose a less-outspoken approach than Watson.

"I have no say in the process (despite) being a part of the situation," Sullivan told USA Today. "The league did what they felt was appropriate, and the matter is settled."

Sullivan, who had microfracture knee surgery during the offseason, expects to play in Week 2.

"I'm just happy I wasn't hurt -- seriously injured," Sullivan said. "There's a reason that play is illegal. It's incredibly dangerous. I just feel fortunate that I'll be playing this week."

Suh's bank account and reputation continue to take a pounding. The question is if he really cares.

Watson and Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher appear every Tuesday on "Around The League Live" and "Around The League Primetime" at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET, respectively.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" recapped every Week 1 game. Click here to listen and subscribe.

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