Let’s take a trip back to the annual Thanksgiving game, but not just any of the many games the NFL has played over the years on Thanksgiving, but one game in particular. You may have to go back and watch a replay of the game, however, as the year is 2011, and it pitted the Detroit Lions against one the Green Bay Packers. The scoreboard certainly didn’t give fans a reason to recall this game 8 years later as it was a 27-15 thumping at the hands of the Packers. The reason this game stands out to many fans still to this day was a single play, or rather what happened after a certain play. Yes, I’m talking about THAT play.
Current Buccaneer teammates Evan Smith and Ndamukong Suh had an altercation that is definitely more memorable than the game itself. While lying on the ground, Evan Smith found himself getting literally stomped by Suh. Former Packer, Matt Brock claims that Suh kept trying to until Smith’s cleats which is what resulted in the stomping, but no matter the reason or excuse, Suh found himself tossed out of the game and handed a two-game suspension by the league.
It’s quite possible that this act is what has resulted with Suh carrying the label of being a dirty player, and given the memorable act against Evan Smith, you would think that Suh being signed with the Buccaneers might cause a problem given that Smith was signed by the Buccaneers in 2014. That doesn’t seem to be the case, however, as Smith has given no indication that he harbors any resentment or ill feelings about the incident, and in fact has been quoted as saying the exact opposite.
“Here’s the thing about it, man, when you come to work, you get paid to do a job. You don’t get paid to hate people, you get paid to play with them. He’s here to help us win football games. It was a long time ago. Heat of the battle, man, “The only guys who can maybe understand this world are guys who have served. That’s about it. Football is not a nice sport. He’s a football player. I don’t go out and hug every guy I play against.”
Head Coach Bruce Arians doesn’t seem to have any concern about someone coming to the Bucs with the fire and passion that Suh has, even given his history with Smith as he was quoted as saying
“Ain’t enough fire in the world, burn some guys around you.”
This isn’t to say that Arians is telling Suh to go out and stomp someone again, and I don’t think Arians is even worried in the slightest about something like that happening again, but Arians definitely wants to see that same fire and passion from Suh that he had in that Thanksgiving game all those years ago.
At this point in time, Evan Smith is probably far more concerned with making sure he is on the roster come week 1, and if that means patching things up with Suh and playing nice, that’s what he’s going to do. There’s no reason we should expect to see Evan Smith being invited over to the Suh Thanksgiving meal, but there’s also no reason to think that with both Smith and Suh being professionals that they won’t be able to stomp out the rumors and do what needs to be done in order to return the Buccaneers to the NFL playoffs.