On Friday, newly-signed Buccaneers defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh met with the media for the first time since agreeing late last week to join the Bucs on a one-year deal. And, Suh wanted to make it very clear from the outset, that while he expects to make an impact and help the Buccaneers get back on the winning track, he’s not taking Gerald McCoy’s place literally, or even figuratively, in Tampa Bay.
Suh spoke for over 14 minutes answering a wide range of questions, but about halfway through the interview, he was prompted about replacing the Buccaneers Pro Bowl defensive tackle,
“I’m definitely not taking Gerald’s spot. Gerald set his stone for this franchise for many, many years. Very successful. Played at a very high level. I’ve got a great relationship with him. The last time the we spoke was at the Super Bowl. Him wishing me the best of luck.” Suh continued, “our relationship is good as far as I know, and I wish him all the best….I’m not here to replace him. I’m here to kinda make my own path….and help get to a winning/successful situation.”
Still, it will be viewed as Suh replacing McCoy, who after the six-time Pro-Bowl Buccaneer refused to take a pay cut off his $13 million-dollar salary slated for 2019. Suh was not re-signed by the Los Angeles Rams after his one-year deal in 2018 for $14 million expired.
Suh, like McCoy nine-year veteran, and is a five-time Pro Bowl selection and was the number 2 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Nebraska just in front of the Bucs taking McCoy at #3. Suh has started all 142 regular season games he has played, including the last 115 consecutively.
Suh had 4.5 sacks and 4 tackles for loss in L.A. for the regular last year. Then, in the playoffs, he registered 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks in helping the Rams reach Super Bowl 53 in February. Suh has 56 sacks, 107 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and four fumbles recoveries, while playing for the Lions originally and then the Dolphins for three seasons after that. Miami had released Suh in March of last year after he refused to take a pay cut, himself, saving the Dolphins $17 million in cap relief.
Suh also said Friday that a large reason why he is now wearing Buccaneers Pewter and Red is because of new defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles. He further revealed that a year ago after being released by the Dolphins, he almost signed with the New York Jets to play for Bowles. However, he ended up taking the Rams one-year offer and helped them go to the Super Bowl.
Now Suh is hoping with the new coaching staff lead by Bruce Arians that the Buccaneers can make giant strides and become a playoff contending team immediately in 2019.
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