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Suh’s appeal hearing set

Lions tackle will have his say this afternoon

Ndamukong Suh (above) was suspended for two games for stomping on Evan Dietrich-Smith. Ndamukong Suh (above) was suspended for two games for stomping on Evan Dietrich-Smith. (Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)
Associated Press / December 1, 2011
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This afternoon, Ndamukong Suh will present his appeal of his two-game suspension for stomping Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith to Art Shell via conference call. The league handed out the suspension Tuesday, but Suh immediately appealed.

Shell is a joint appointee of the NFL and the players’ association for such cases.

Suh stomped on Dietrich-Smith during Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day loss to the Packers and was ejected. Should he lose the appeal, he will miss Sunday’s game at New Orleans and the Lions’ Dec. 11 home game against Minnesota.

Usually, a hearing is held within 10 days of the filing of an appeal. But the league has expedited Suh’s high-profile case to give the Lions and the second-year player an answer before the Saints game.

If Suh, the 2010 Defensive Rookie of the Year and an All-Pro, loses the appeal, he can return to the Lions Dec. 12 before a road game against Oakland. He is barred from practice and the team’s facility while suspended.

Early last month, Suh requested and was granted a meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his play after he drew several penalties and fines. Suh said he had a better understanding of the rules after that meeting.

On Sunday, with it becoming apparent he would be disciplined again, Suh called Goodell to apologize.

Against Green Bay on national TV, Suh lifted up his right knee and forcibly stepped on Dietrich-Smith’s right arm during the third quarter of the Lions’ 27-15 loss. Before the stomp, Suh shoved Dietrich-Smith’s helmet toward the turf while separating himself from the Packers player on the ground.

He was penalized and ejected.

Asked about the incident after the game, Suh sounded defiant, insisting he didn’t intentionally step on Dietrich-Smith. A day later, following criticism from the Lions, Suh apologized to his teammates, organization, and fans - not to Dietrich-Smith.

His actions prompted more criticism around the league, with some calling Suh the NFL’s dirtiest player.

Miller has thumb surgery

Broncos linebacker Von Miller missed practice after undergoing surgery to repair a strained ligament in his right thumb, which he hurt in last Sunday’s win at San Diego.

The Broncos, however, believe he’ll be able to play Sunday at Minnesota.

Miller was the second overall pick in the draft out of Texas A&M and has lived up to his billing, recording 10 1/2 sacks and collecting 58 tackles and one Defensive Player of the Week honor.

“He’s a big part of what we do,’’ said defensive end Elvis Dumervil. “If he’s not able to go, then guys have to step in and try to elevate their game.’’

Even if Miller does play, he’ll be affected, Dumervil said.

“The thumb is crucial. I mean, I had a pinkie injury a couple of years ago and as a rusher you need your hands. It’s very important. But I’m sure he’ll fight through it and get healthy soon so we can get him back.’’

Johnson fined $10,000

Bills receiver Stevie Johnson has been fined $10,000 by the NFL for mimicking shooting himself in the thigh during a touchdown celebration last Sunday that mocked Jets receiver Plaxico Burress.

Johnson declined to confirm whether he had been punished except to say he had an overnight courier envelope from the NFL waiting for him at his locker when he arrived for practice.

On his Twitter account, Johnson made light of the envelope by referring to it as “the Random FedEx Package in My Locker’’ and posting a picture of it.

The Bills’ leading receiver got into hot water immediately after putting Buffalo up, 14-7, by catching a 5-yard touchdown pass with a little more than two minutes left in the second quarter of a 28-24 loss at the Jets last Sunday.

Using his hands as pistols, Johnson pretended to shoot himself in the thigh, a move that was directed at Burress, who wound up serving 20 months in prison for shooting himself in a New York City nightclub in 2008.

Johnson didn’t stop there. He then imitated a jet in flight before crashing to the turf. That proved particularly costly, because he was flagged 15 yards for going to the ground.

Lawsuit can proceed

A federal judge has rejected the NFL’s request that she throw out a lawsuit filed by ticket-holders displaced during the seating fiasco at the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium.

The lawsuit was filed after 1,250 temporary seats were declared unsafe just hours before the February game between the Packers and Steelers in Arlington, Texas. It says 475 ticket-holders were forced to watch from standing-room locations while others were relocated, causing them to miss part of the game. In a 10-page order Wednesday, US District Judge Barbara Lynn of Dallas ruled that the plaintiffs’ breach-of-contract claim can proceed. She ruled that if the plaintiffs win, they can get compensation far beyond the amount offered by the NFL.

Tucker makes changes

Jaguars interim coach Mel Tucker shook up his staff on his first full day, firing receivers coach Johnny Cox and shuffling other assignments. The Jaguars (3-8) rank last in the NFL in offense and have been plagued by poor routes, dropped passes, and inconsistent quarterback play. Tucker also moved quarterbacks coach Mike Sheppard to work with receivers, a position he held the previous four years in Cincinnati. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will serve as quarterbacks coach. The Jaguars also waived starting receiver Jason Hill, who had just 25 receptions for 367 yards and three touchdowns, and dropped several balls . . . The Chargers placed offensive tackle Marcus McNeill on injured reserve with a neck injury and signed tackle Jared Gaither off waivers. McNeill injured his neck during a loss to the Raiders Nov. 10 and was inactive for the last two games. Gaither was waived by Kansas City on Tuesday . . . Seahawks coach Pete Carroll announced that receiver Sidney Rice would be placed on IR after suffering two concussions within weeks of each other . . . Quarterback Kevin Kolb went through a full workout, the strongest indication yet that he finally is ready to return to the Cardinals’ lineup. Kolb has missed four games with a turf toe and bruise on the side of his right foot . . . Packers linebacker Erik Walden is expected to start against the Giants on Sunday despite his arrest last week on suspicion of domestic violence . . . Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley were full participants at practice for the first time since injuring their knees more than two weeks ago . . . Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes will have what coach Mike Smith says is minor surgery on his right knee today and will miss at least two weeks.

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