DETROIT (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and league officials looked at Ndamukong Suh’s latest infamous act on the field from several angles, trying to understand why the Detroit Lions defensive tackle kicked Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin area.
“Intent is something that is very difficult for us to ever try to make a judgment on,” Goodell told reporters before speaking at a Lions charity event Tuesday night.
Goodell said he hasn’t spoken to Suh about what he did in last Thursday’s game, adding that the league’s football operations staff is in the process of speaking to him about it. Suh was on his chest after being taken down by an offensive lineman and extended his left foot to hit Schaub below the belt, dropping the QB to his knees doubled over in pain in the first quarter of Houston’s 34-31 overtime win.
“They’re still going through the process of whether it should be a fine,” Goodell said. “They’ll probably make that decision in the next couple days.”
In a few weeks, Goodell said the NFL’s competition committee will meet and might suggest changing a rule for the playoffs that hurt Detroit’s chances of beating the Texans last week.
“We may evaluate it as it relates to the postseason,” Goodell told reporters.
Officials didn’t blow their whistle when two Lions tackled Justin Forsett, allowing him to get up and run for an 81-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Detroit coach Jim Schwartz negated an automatic review by challenging the play.
“It’s unfortunate because the officials on the field made an obvious error and it could’ve been reversed,” Goodell told hundreds of fans at Ford Field during a question-and-answer session. “That’s what we want to correct.”
Goodell was at the 19th annual Detroit Lions Courage House dinner that team officials say has raised $1.8 million for HAVEN, a suburban Detroit facility that tries to prevent and treat victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
Lions running back Jahvid Best was at the event because teammates voted him their Ed Block Courage Award winner, an honor each team in the league gives a player annually for overcoming an injury or adversity.
Best hasn’t played since he was knocked out of a game against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 16, 2011, with what he has said was his third concussion.
“For the past year he has endured countless hours of cognitive rehabilitation and therapy with enthusiasm and eagerness without complaint anger or impatience,” Lions athletic trainer Dean Kleinschmidt said. “I have never pulled harder for an injured athlete to return to the field of play.”
Detroit drafted Best in the first round in 2010 and he accounted for 1,000-plus yards and six touchdowns. Best was limited to six games last season and is hopeful he can make a comeback next year.
He hadn’t spoken publicly since the team announced earlier this month that he would stay on the physically unable to perform list for the year.
“They told me I can’t play this season, but they didn’t shut the door,” Best told the crowd. “I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy. If you don’t shut the door, there’s still a way.”
Best said he feels “normal” when he wakes up each day, but understands why he hasn’t been cleared to play.
“Especially this year with the way they are about concussions and how sensitive a subject it is right now, they just want to make sure everything is OK,” he said. “We’re just taking the safest approach.”