Commentary

12 things: Defining Ndamukong Suh

Updated: August 13, 2010, 5:02 PM ET
By David Fleming | ESPN The Magazine
Ndamukong SuhJeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesNdamukong Suh didn't become the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft overnight.

Every Friday through the Super Bowl, David Fleming will check in with 12 things about the NFL. This week, he shares his thoughts about Lions rookie Ndamukong Suh.

Michael Suh never mentions the money. Not once does he talk about his son Ndamukong's new five-year deal with the Detroit Lions that could be worth as much as $68 million. He doesn't talk about the NFL draft, either, or the Heisman race, or even the fact that, while at Nebraska, Ndamukong was widely regarded as the most dominant and decorated defensive tackle in college football history.

Instead, when asked about the 12 moments that define Ndamukong Suh's life, his father first focuses on a summer day in 1996 when, just before leaving for work, he saw Ndamukong quizzically eyeing the family's new, expensive phone and answering machine.

1. Summer, 1996: Ndamukong finds his "calling."

Michael Suh: "He grew up taking everything apart. When he was nine, we got a phone with an answering machine that talked back to you. I think I paid $200 for it and I could just tell he was dying to figure out how it worked. When I left for work in the morning he had already started taking it apart and by the time I got back that night he had already put it back together and it worked with no problems. He was just curious about how the phone worked. He plays football exactly like that; he strategizes and talks about it and nails it down to a tee. Then he deconstructs it to figure it out, like he did with that phone."


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