Lions Notebook: Suh Fined; Smith Placed on IR

The hits keep coming for the Detroit Lions -- on the field and the pocket book.

The hits keep coming for the Detroit Lions -- on the field and in the pocket book.

Lions' rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was fined $15,000 by the league on Tuesday for his controversial hit on quarterback Jay Cutler during Sunday's loss to Chicago.

The two-handed shove, while violent, didn't appear to breach anything in the league rulebook. The call drew the ire of coach Jim Schwartz, who turned multiple colors on the sideline while expressing his chagrin with lead ref Ed Hochuli.

The call resulted in a first-down for the Bears, who parlayed it into a touchdown on the next play.

But the fine comes on the heels of a call that even former NFL officiating czar Mike Pereira questioned. "Technically, by the rule, it is not a foul," Pereira said in a recent FOX Sports chat.

It is Suh's second fine of the year. He was ticketed in the preseason by the league after mauling Cleveland quarterback Jake Delhomme; the video of the hit went viral soon after.

Following Tuesday's practice session, Schwartz avoided discussion of the fine, but defended Suh's play.

"He was a runner," said Schwartz of Cutler. "He was trying to score a touchdown. We're three points up in the fourth quarter, trying to make a play that wins us the game."

Schwartz dismissed the notion that Suh might be developing into a target for officials.

"I don't buy into that," he said.

The team also placed starting cornerback Alphonso Smith (shoulder) on injured reserve, just days after ending running back Kevin Smith's season in the same manner.

The two join an extensive IR list comprised of several players that contributed regularly, or were expected to, including defensive end Jared DeVries, linebackers Jordon Dizon and Zack Follett, and kicker Jason Hanson.

Before long, they'll be joined by defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. Vanden Bosch underwent season ending neck surgery on Tuesday to repair a bulging disk in his neck.

While the Lions have replaced Vanden Bosch with veteran Turk McBride, the team still doesn't have a starter penciled into the glaring hole left by Smith.

Schwartz said he expects a full recovery from both players.

Detroit inked cornerback Prince Miller from the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad to fill Smith's vacant roster spot. The 5-8, 200-pound former Georgia standout made Baltimore's initial 53-man roster but was cut one day later.

"He was a guy that our scouts had had a lot of interest in (during) training camp," Schwartz said. "They thought he had an outstanding preseason and training camp. He fits a lot of different roles: special teams, nickel, outside corner."

The Stafford Gamble: The team allowed Matthew Stafford to test his right shoulder on Wednesday, who practiced light throwing while still remaining technically inactive at practice. Detroit has been hesitant to place Stafford on IR on the chance he could return to finish the season. Schwartz defended his decision to keep Stafford viable despite what many deem to be an unnecessary risk with the team out of playoff contention.

"What's gained is having a chance to win the game," said Schwartz. "That's everything that we get paid for and that's everything that we do all year, to play 16 games. No. 2 is: if a player is healthy enough to play, then you play. You don't keep anything in the can. You don't save anything for next year. If there's a situation where a player is at risk or can't do his job on Sunday, then you make that decision.

"It's just like I said before with him coming back, he needs to pass those tests before he comes back. We say, ‘Hey, is this something that can potentially be made worse? Can he do his job on the field with this injury?' (When) all those things are answered then we'll get him back on the field."


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