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Former Detroit Lions’ Coach Jim Schwartz Classy in Defense of Ndamukong Suh, Matthew Stafford

February 12th, 2014 at 11:08 AM
By Max DeMara

Though Jim Schwartz was fired by the Detroit Lions, there's apparently no hard feelings considering the former coach has gone out of his way lately to defend a few of his former star players from the team.

'Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings 2012/09/30' photo (c) 2012, kdoebler@att.net - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

First, it was Matthew Stafford, the quarterback that came under fire for falling apart down the stretch. People said Stafford was broken, had bad mechanics and might not be worth the money the Lions paid him. Schwartz disagreed, appearing on Nashville radio station 104.5, saying that while the team went 2-6 down the stretch, it wasn't all on the quarterback. 

"(But) it's a team game and I wouldn't pin it on Matthew Stafford, Matt's an outstanding quarterback. He led us to the playoffs. Just about every record in the Lions offense, total offense and passing offense was set by Matt Stafford in the last three years. He's going to lead that team to many great things in the future. Everybody has some rough spots here and there, and it's up to the rest of the team to pick you up."

Ndamukong Suh, meanwhile, has been called out in a series of interviews given by NFL Network analyst Heath Evans, who said his sources within the team indicated the defensive tackle constantly wielded his power over Schwartz in the locker room. Schwartz, though, continued to categorically deny the allegations in the same radio interview.

"There were a lot of things that were completely untrue that were said. Somebody said that Ndamukong was constantly late and was doing it to show up the coaching staff and all these different things…And I can say categorically, in four years as a player there, he was late zero times in four years, and I know that for a fact. I was there every single day. Ndamukong was one of our first guys in the building every single day, and he matured as a player also."

Schwartz also admitted he's still a Suh fan, and wants to see him continue to evolve and do well. Considering he coached for five years in Detroit and left several friends behind on the coaching staff, Schwartz also admitted to remaining a Lions' fan and hoping good things for the team, as long as it wasn't at the Buffalo Bills' expense. Schwartz, of course, took over as defensive coordinator in Buffalo after Mike Pettine departed to coach the Cleveland Browns.

In the age of dirty laundry airing, social media arrow slinging and the like, it's refreshing to see Schwartz remaining classy in the media when the stories come out, as they typically do after a major organizational shakeup. It would have been easy for Schwartz to throw both under the bus and continue to fuel the fire.

Though he failed at his ultimate goal in Detroit, it's not wrong for fans to wish Schwartz the best in Buffalo, except for if it's at the Lions' expense, of course.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

Tags: Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, Jim Schwartz, Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh, NFL

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