Ndamukong Suh baffled reporters Wednesday when he closed a press conference addressing his absence from Detroit Lions minicamp last month by saying, "I could have gone elsewhere" when the Lions drafted him No. 2 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. Via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com:
"I came here for a reason. I had an opportunity -- probably a lot of you guys don't know -- I could have gone elsewhere when I was drafted," Suh said. "I had that decision in my hands and I chose not to take it because that's just the way that I saw it."
Suh's comments naturally prompted questions of how he would have tried to play elsewhere if not for the team that drafted him, but he declined to give specifics.
"There's many ways to do things," Suh said. "You can drop down in the draft, you can move up in the draft, people can get you. There's a lot of things that happen that you guys (in the media) don't know."
The only top NFL Draft pick to successfully dictate his NFL destination recently was Eli Manning, who stated that he would refuse to play for the San Diego Chargers if they drafted No. 1 overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. The Chargers did draft Manning, but only to promptly trade him to the New York Giants in exchange for Philip Rivers and draft picks. John Elway managed similar jockeying in 1984 with the Indianapolis Colts by threatening to instead opt for baseball and play for the New York Yankees, ultimately triggering a trade to the Denver Broncos.
When Suh was asked if he could have made similar demands, he, again, refused to give an answer. The Lions promised to release a statement clarifying Suh's comments, but only added that Suh was "thrilled" to be going to Detroit at the time when he was drafted.
Suh's most recent comments suggest that there is no ill-will between him and the organization. He said that he is looking forward to being "one of the cornerstones that gets this organization back to a championship level." Suh is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and there have reportedly been talks between Detroit and the defensive tackle on a new long-term deal that would be very lucrative.
The fact that Suh missed voluntary workouts last month was taken by some as a sign of dissension, though according to Lions blog Pride of Detroit, the decision was in line with Suh's normal offseason routine. Suh is currently taking part in Lions' OTAs, which are also voluntary.