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Suh, Goodell clear air

Rules are clarified for Lions standout

Associated Press / November 2, 2011

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Ndamukong Suh got his wish.

The Lions star defensive tackle met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his staff yesterday to clarify questions about his play and the game.

“I have gained a better understanding how I need to continue to play the game to help my team win,’’ Suh said in a statement. “I look forward to the rest of the season and doing everything we can to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Detroit.’’

Detroit, aiming for its first postseason appearance this century, is 6-2 for the first time since 2007 and next plays Nov. 13 at Chicago. The Lions haven’t won an NFL title since 1956, but Suh and his teammates are playing and talking with a lot of swagger these days.

Suh requested the bye-week session at NFL headquarters in New York to talk about the flags and fines he has received. He was joined by Lions coach Jim Schwartz and team president Tom Lewand, according to Goodell.

“Ndamukong plays the game with great skill and passion and is a major reason for the Lions’ success this year,’’ Goodell said in a statement. “In the course of our dialogue today, we reviewed video showing that Ndamukong has clearly made the adjustments to play consistently within the rules so that he can continue to help the team. We commend Ndamukong’s leadership in taking the initiative to schedule today’s meeting.’’

Suh’s rough play has led to $42,500 in fines since Detroit drafted him No. 2 overall out of Nebraska in 2009.

In August, he was fined a third time for roughing up a third quarterback in less than a year after grabbing Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton and throwing him to the turf after he had gotten rid of the ball. Suh vowed back then he wouldn’t “by any means’’ change his game. He was fined twice last year for hits on Chicago’s Jay Cutler during the regular season and Cleveland’s Jake Delhomme in an exhibition game. He shoved Cutler hard and high in the back and twisted Delhomme’s face mask and slammed him to the ground.

Reunion time

The Raiders signed wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, reuniting him with quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer and Houshmandzadeh were Bengals teammates for six seasons and both had their greatest NFL success when they were together. Houshmandzadeh, 34, had been out of the league since playing with Baltimore last season but had been working out in Southern California with Palmer before the Raiders acquired the quarterback last month. Houshmandzadeh is also very familiar with Raiders coach Hue Jackson, who was the receivers coach in Cincinnati for three years during Houshmandzadeh’s tenure there. Houshmandzadeh averaged 89 catches over a five-year span in Cincinnati. His best season came in 2007, when he caught a career-high 112 passes for 1,143 yards and 12 touchdowns . . . Wide receiver Brian Robiskie, a 2009 second-round draft pick, was waived by the Browns to make room for free agent running back Thomas Clayton, who played in two games for Cleveland and one for the Patriots last season. He was brought back because of injuries to Peyton Hillis (hamstring) and Montario Hardesty (calf) . . . The Buccaneers signed safety David Sims, who was in training camp with the Giants but was released during the final cuts. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State . . . The Colts released offensive lineman Michael Toudouze and linebacker Cody Glenn . . . The Cardinals re-signed fullback Reagan Maui’a and released defensive end Ronald Talley, who was subsequently re-signed to the practice squad. The team then released defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin from the practice squad.

Tax deal nixed

Minnesota governor Mark Dayton ruled out a tax increase as a way to help pay for a new Vikings stadium, blowing a $350 million hole in the team’s plan to build a $1.1 billion home in the suburbs north of the Twin Cities. Stadium supporters on the Ramsey County Board had proposed increasing the county sales tax by half a cent to come up with the $350 million local share of the overall cost. But Dayton, after conferring with leading lawmakers from both parties, said there is not enough support in the Legislature to exempt any proposed tax increase from a public vote - either in Ramsey County, or in Minneapolis if a stadium plan lands there instead . . . The NFL overturned the $5,000 fine Ravens center Matt Birk received for removing a microphone he was wearing in a game against the Jets. Birk’s agent confirmed the six-time Pro Bowl selection won his appeal of the fine. NFL rules require centers or guards to wear microphones on their pads, but Birk indicated that the listening device was uncomfortable to wear because it was touching his neck. So he took it off, and was fined . . . Injured Texans outside linebacker Mario Williams said he’s healing “extremely fast’’ in his recovery from a torn chest muscle that will sideline him the rest of this season . . . The Galveston County medical examiner’s office ruled the death of a man at the home of Texans defensive end Antonio Smith an accidental drowning. The body of Engram Lamar Crenshaw, 37, was discovered in the pool behind Smith’s home following a party on Sept. 3. Crenshaw was a friend of Smith’s, and not affiliated with the team. No charges have been filed in the case.

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