LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Allen Park — Lions coach Jim Caldwell declined multiple opportunities Monday to address a report about Ndamukong Suh wanting to leave in free agency next year.

On Sunday morning before the Lions' 24-17 win over the New York Jets, ESPN reported that Suh wants to play in New York, either for the Jets or Giants, and the Lions are preparing to lose him.

Lions president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew tabled contract extension talks before training camp, and both expressed confidence that they could keep Suh in Detroit, regardless of whether he explores offers elsewhere.

The destinations in ESPN's report, which also included Chicago and Dallas, qualify as news, but the possibility that the Lions could lose him is not.

Caldwell, though, did not want to address the speculative story.

"I'm not going to talk about those kinds of things," he said during his news conference Monday. "I think that was addressed early on in the season when Tom made the last statement that he made in regard to it."

The Lions chose to postpone discussions until after the season to prevent the contract issue from being a distraction, but Sunday's story could take attention away from the games, too.

When a reporter mentioned the importance of the Suh story, Caldwell again declined.

"It might be important, but I'm not going to address it," he said. "It might be important to you, but I'm not going to address it at this point in time. Next question."

The only Suh questions Caldwell answered were ones about his on-field deeds, and the coach noted that the All-Pro defensive tackle is "an extraordinary player" and a team leader.

"I think without a doubt he's a very talented guy," Caldwell said. "You could see it when we played against him, and it certainly does indeed present itself every game for our opponent. He does a tremendous job.

"He's a guy that you have to pay attention to. He certainly warrants double teams in almost every facet, which opens up the opportunity for some other guys to make plays."

Suh has nine tackles, two for loss and a sack this year, but statistics often don't show his true value.

"If it was hockey, he'd lead the league in assists, so he's certainly a very important guy for us," Caldwell said.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE