Thursday, February 25, 2021

Buccaneers’ Ndamukong Suh, a soon-to-be father, seeking first Super Bowl title

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Soon enough, Ndamukong Suh will be a father for the first time, and he and his wife, Katya, are expecting twins.

“So, double the trouble, which will be very interesting,’’ Suh said Wednesday. “Really, my wife and I are just excited about the opportunity, it’s the next chapter of our life.

“Probably the best advice I’ve gotten was to be patient. Take everything as it comes. It’s going to definitely be life-changing.’’

Suh, 34, knows plenty about next chapters and life-changing moments. He is in the 10th year of a wildly successful, at times nefarious, NFL career, bearing down on the one goal he has yet to attain. The rugged defensive tackle made it to his first Super Bowl two years ago, in his first and only season with the Rams, but came up short. Suh is back, again, this time with the Buccaneers, and if he and his teammates are able to slow down the fast-break Chiefs on Sunday in Super Bowl LV, he will get what has long eluded him.

“Having that opportunity to hoist that trophy and be a champion in really the ultimate team sport,’’ Suh said.

I’ve been very blessed to have an individual career that has many accolades, but the ultimate goal is to have the team accolade, and that’s the Lombardi Trophy.’’ Ndamukong SuhGetty Images

Suh is the rare lofty draft pick (No. 2 overall by the Lions in 2010) to play at an exalted level from the day he stepped onto the field. Suh was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, a three-time first-team All Pro, a five-time Pro Bowler and was named to the all-decade team of the 2010s. He has 58.5 career sacks and is an iron man — he has not missed a start since 2011.

In his first four years, though, Suh was a terror in many wrong ways. Fines were commonplace, because he could not, or would not, control himself on the field. On Thanksgiving Day 2011, he pushed the head of Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith to the ground three times and then stomped on his arm, resulting in an ejection from the game and a two-game suspension by the league.

Soft-spoken and introspective, Suh is not wild about recounting these incidents.

“I would pose in a different way, rather than say misunderstood,’’ Suh said. “I think a lot of people haven’t taken the time to get to know me. The people that have, for lack of a better word, have been blown away for the diversity and the ability that I have to wear multiple different caps and be well-versed.

“From my perspective, a lot of people know me from a physical, hard-working, blue-collar football player that has gotten a lot of attention throughout his years, mostly positive, some negative.’’

Suh cleaned up his act in the second half of his career. In 2015 he became the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history when he signed a six-year, $114 million deal with the Dolphins. After one year with the Rams, Suh is on his second one-year deal with the Buccaneers — his 2020 salary plus bonus totals $8 million — and provides sturdiness in the middle of the Tampa Bay defensive line. He had 41 tackles and 2.5 sacks this season.

Fairly stoic, Suh chuckled when he was asked how the Bucs’ defense can turn Patrick Mahomes into a non-factor in the Super Bowl.

“It’s going to be very difficult for him to be a non-factor,’’ Suh said.

For us, it’s just about being in his face and not allowing him to escape.”.

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