With the Detroit Lions first day of voluntary workouts, the ever-powerful word "leadership" has been mentioned prominently again.
Ndamukong Suh chose not to attend, and that has caused Lions fans to question his commitment, desire and leadership.
Suh has always been the kind of player who marches to the beat of his own drum. He works out on his own, away from Detroit, but the results are difficult to ignore.
You may not think he's the best defensive tackle in the NFL (Gerald McCoy, Kyle Williams, or Geno Atkins), but he's in the conversation. He's always shown up to training camp in good shape and has been a very productive pro. You know what you get when Ndamukong Suh dresses on Sunday, and that's comforting.
But, this year is different.
Suh wanted to be named a captain. It was one of his goals. So much so that he asked veterans two years ago, "how do I become a captain on this team?" and they told him he needs to be more of a team player and think of the team more than of himself.
He was recognized by his teammates a year ago, and you could tell it changed Suh in a few ways. He was more accessible and forthcoming. His play never waned though.
Suh needs to understand that being identified as a leader by others in a locker room comes with additional responsibility. It means players are looking to you for guidance; they will follow your course. If your course is one filled with self-absorption, then it will be quickly recognized and remembered. When you receive that honor, there are different expectations that come along with it.
It's difficult to say he should be there, but remember the old saying, "be careful what you wish for."
Well that applies here. Suh wanted the "C" and he needs to act like one. Why is it alright for Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford and Stephen Tulloch to be at the workouts, but not Suh? He sticks to his own program. What, does he not think Johnson and Stafford have their own off-season routine?
How does being in the building with your team prevent working out on your own? How does being in Allen Park get in the way of that? He wanted the leadership tag and now he's got it. He needs to start acting the part.
If he needs some examples, there are plenty to research here in Detroit: Lidstrom, Yzerman, Thomas, Dumars, Spielman.
Hell, he can look in his own room and see the example set by Calvin Johnson. No matter what, he doesn't have to look far.
Matt Shepard is the play-by-play voice of University of Michigan basketball, Eastern Michigan University football and the Detroit Lions television network. He can also be found on TV locally on Fox Sports Detroit and nationally on the Big Ten Network for college hockey and baseball.Learn more.