NEW ORLEANS – Ndamukong Suh cried.
That might be the last thing you’d expect from the hulking Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle, who oozes whatever you’d think machismo is supposed to represent from a man who measures 6-4 and 313 pound. I mean, Suh looks like he’d survive eating nails for breakfast.
Yet there’s a sensitive side to this big fella that tends to surface amid the make-or-break moments of the playoffs. It came out again at the Superdome on Sunday, as Greg Zuerlein lined up for a 57-yard kick in overtime that sent the Rams to Super Bowl LIII – and Suh to the first Super Bowl in his nine-year NFL career – on the longest field goal in postseason history.
The Fox candid cameras caught Suh on the bench, his head buried. It appeared that he was seeking divine intervention.
“I was crying,” Suh told USA TODAY Sports. “Praying and crying. Just praying for him to knock that thing down like he’s taught to. It’s moments like that, that you never forget.”
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Suh, 32, entered the NFL with the Lions in 2010 as the second pick in the NFL draft after becoming one of the most decorated players in college football history at Nebraska. Like every player headed to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII, it has been a personalized journey. For Suh, that has included individual recognition that led to a record contract and controversy – he was once considered by some to be one the NFL’s dirtiest players because of a series of flagrant on-the-field dustups. But for much of his career, including his first five seasons in Detroit, playing in the Super Bowl seemed like a pipe dream.
“This is a great situation,” he reflected. Then Suh pondered his postseason experiences and realized that he’d be ecstatic to reach .500 with a victory in the next game, on Feb. 3 against the Patriots.
“Being in Detroit, losing seasons, winning seasons, going to the playoffs and always losing,” he said, “it’ll be solidified if I can go 3-3. It would be a dream come true.”
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