When Ndamukong Suh spoke glowingly of his love for Detroit and his former QB Jared Goff several weeks ago, speculation arose of whether the five-time Pro Bowler would consider a reunion with the Lions this offseason. And there is a “good” reason why some fans (and media pundits) felt this could be possible.
Before playing with Tom Brady, Suh said that Jared Goff is the best QB he’s ever played alongside. He also saluted Dan Campbell as the Lions’ new head coach. Along with that, Suh recently accomplished his main goal, winning his first Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Bucs. So there was a feeling that maybe, just maybe, Suh would consider coming back “home” to the Motor City to finish out his career.
Well, if you think that was ever a possibility of happening, it’s about time to let go of that pipedream because if Suh has his way, he’s staying in Tampa Bay.
In a conversation with Albert Breer of MMQB, Suh reiterated his desire to stay with the Buccaneers with hoping of repeating as Super Bowl champions.
“My goal is to come back and have an opportunity to go win another championship,” Suh told Breer.
“Me and Tom [Brady] spoke the other day about that opportunity, as well as with Jason Licht. I don’t know if you saw our parade celebration on that podium, [but] Coach B.A. [Bruce Arians] said I’m not going anywhere. And he’s usually a man of his word. So I look forward to the opportunity to continue to play, especially for Tampa. And I honestly believe I have a lot of elite, great talent left in me to play. I’m not ready to hang them up yet. And my wife has given me the O.K.—that’s first and foremost, I got that permission.”
There’s no reason for Suh to return to Detroit.
Let’s be logical here. After reading that quote, why on earth would Ndamukong Suh willingly leave a winning situation to return to Detroit for a rebuild? It makes no sense for him. With the Bucs primed to potentially repeat as champions, the idea of Suh returning to Detroit is nothing more than just a feel-good, Hallmark “movie of the week” type moment. It sounds (and looks) intriguing on paper, but it should not garner serious thought.
Suh bolted Detroit for greener pastures in 2015. Unlike his former teammates Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford, he didn’t stick around longer than he should have. He saw the writing on the wall of where his professional career could go in Detroit. After reaching the mountain top with the Bucs, returning to the Lions would be a step backward in his career. No, Suh is not the same dominant player he once was. Despite that, he can still be a significant piece in a defensive scheme.
And if Bucs’ GM Jason Licht has his way, Suh will return.
“I think he’s said it, that’d he’d love to come back here,” Licht told the Pewter Report podcast several days ago.
“I know that there’s mutual respect for each other, and I’ve told him that we’d like to have him back. We’re just kind of letting the dust settle here for a couple days. We’ve got some time here. You never hit utopia, I guess, unless you win the Super Bowl, but a lot of things we want to try to do, I’m hoping we can do. We’ll have to see how it all shakes out, but he’s definitely one that we want back.”
Going back down memory lane isn’t ideal the Lions either.
With the Lions currently “retooling” their franchise, adding a 34-year-old defensive tackle is going in the opposite direction of where the Lions should head. Along with that, as of now, their cap space in free agency will be minimal. While the Lions will certainly free up more money in the future with roster cuts, it’s too early to tell which player(s) they could lure to Detroit to fill that void.
The Lions would probably have to overpay Suh to poach him away from the Bucs, and he’s not worth it at this stage in his career. In this year’s draft, they have the No.7 overall pick. If Michigan’s Kwity Paye is on the board, he’s a viable option to fill that glaring hole on the defensive line. However, the Lions will still need more pieces.
It’s a mystery right now on the Lions’ plan to address their defensive line and the defense in general, but if Lions’ fans expect Ndamukong Suh to be one of those pieces, don’t hold your breath. He’s staying in Tampa.