NEW YORK – The NFL suspended Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for two games without pay Tuesday for stomping on a Green Bay Packers offensive lineman.
Suh was ejected during the third quarter of Detroit's 27-15 Thanksgiving loss to the Packers after scuffling with guard Evan Dietrich-Smith, then stomping on Dietrich-Smith's right arm as he got up to walk away.
The Lions defensive playmaker plans to appeal the suspension with encouragement from the NFL Players Association and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, according to ESPN.
Goodell, who handed down the ban, will also hear the appeal. Suh reportedly called Goodell Monday to personally apologize for the on-field incident.
The NFL said in the statement that if Suh appeals, "an expedited hearing and decision would take place this week."
Suh, who is in his second year out of Nebraska, has already been fined three times in his short NFL career for a total of $42,500 for illegal hits on quarterbacks. Forgoing two paychecks if the suspension is upheld will cost Suh $164,000.
In its announcement, the NFL noted that the incident was "Suh's fifth violation of on-field rules in the past two seasons that has resulted in league discipline."
The foul came just weeks after the 24-year-old Suh met face-to-face with Goodell in an effort to gain a better understanding of the league's policy on illegal hits.
Suh now has three days to decide whether to appeal, but as it stands he is set to miss the Lions' Sunday night matchup at New Orleans followed by a home date with the Minnesota Vikings.
Both games are crucial for the Lions, who are tied with the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons at 7-4 in the race for an NFC wild card spot.
In 2006, the NFL suspended then-Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth for five games without pay for stomping on the head of a Cowboys lineman whose helmet had come off.
Suh raised eyebrows after Thursday's game by arguing that the stomp was a result of him losing his balance, but he changed course the next day and apologized.
"Playing professional sports ... is a profession with great responsibility, and where performance on and off the field should never be compromised," Suh wrote on his Facebook page.
"I want to reiterate my commitment to working to become a better player, and professional -- on and off the field. My reaction on Thursday was unacceptable."