Warren Buffett hopes Ndamukong Suh stays with Lions

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Detroit — Ndamukong Suh said he wasn't approaching Sunday's Lions game any differently, but his entourage suggests he understood the gravity of the matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.

For what might have been Suh's final home game at Ford Field, Suh's parents, his sister Ngum, and Berkshire Hathaway chief executive Warren Buffett all watched pregame warmups from the field.

"That's pretty big-time," Lions center Dominic Raiola said after a 16-14 win over the Vikings.

Some Lions players said they didn't notice Buffett on the field before the game. Safety Glover Quin said he would've "asked for some cash" if he had.

Buffett is the second-richest man in the world, according to Forbes, with an estimated net worth of $71.6 billion. A noted Nebraska Cornhuskers fan, Buffett and Suh have been friends for a few years after former Nebraska football coach and athletics director Tom Osborne introduced them.

Though Buffett declined to comment on whether or not he's given Suh advice about his pending free agency, he told The Detroit News he hopes Suh re-signs with the Lions.

"I hope it isn't his last. I hope he stays in Detroit," Buffett said. "It's his call, obviously. He's a hero in Detroit; he deserves to be one. It's a terrific city, it's on the way back and I just think it'd be great if he sticks around."

Buffett and Suh's family were among about a dozen people wearing Suh's No. 90 jersey on the field before the game. There were nine other Berskshire Hathaway employees on the field that Buffett said were the biggest sports fans in the venture capital company's 25-person office in Omaha, Neb. Buffett said all of the employees in attendance, including him, "have just been dying to see Suh play in Detroit."

"We thought if we brought 11, they might want us to play," Buffett said.

Suh has attended a couple Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meetings, and he and Buffett even participated in a friendly arm-wrestling match at a fundraiser in 2013.

"He's just a hell of a guy," Buffett said. "He's got the right values; he's a terrific player. When he graduated from Nebraska, you know what he did in terms of a gift. I mean, he is a class act."

Suh donated $2 million to Nebraska's strength and conditioning program and another $600,000 to the university's college of engineering for an endowment scholarship. Suh graduated with a construction management degree before the Lions drafted him second overall in 2010, signing him to a five-year, $64.5 million contract.

As a free agent, Suh's next contract will likely be worth about $100 million. Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Suh, who finished with four tackles, one for loss and a sack, played Sunday as he does every game.

"Every game is special for him," coach Jim Caldwell said.

Buffett said he and the other Berkshire Hathaway employees are going to Cleveland Monday for the Cavaliers' game against the Charlotte Hornets.

Buffett, though, doesn't expect Suh to join him at the NBA game.

"He's certainly invited," he said.