Romanowski: 'Big, nasty' Ndamukong Suh fits Raiders

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Phoenix — During his 16 NFL seasons, linebacker Bill Romanowski was among the dirtiest players in the league. He played his final two years in Oakland, long considered the meanest team in the league, and thinks free-agent-to-be Ndamukong Suh would be a perfect fit with the Raiders.

"Absolutely he should be. I think he fits the mold," Romanowski said Wednesday at the Super Bowl's radio row. "I think he'd be phenomenal. The Raiders need him. He would be absolutely loved beyond belief by the Raider Nation. Raiders are mean and nasty and violent, and that's what he is."

Unless the Lions strike a long-term deal with Suh before free agency or pay the exorbitant $26.9 million price of the franchise or transition tag, he will become one of the most sought-after free agents in NFL history and likely strike a deal worth more than $100 million.

The Raiders, along with the New York Jets and Giants, have long been considered a fit for Suh as they need a dominant player to become the face of the franchise. The San Francisco Bay Area is also a significantly larger market than Detroit.

Suh, a three-time All-Pro in his five seasons, has tried to overcome his on-field infractions that earned him the dirty label, but his nearly two years of clean play will go overlooked after he stepped on Aaron Rodgers' injured calf when the Packers beat the Lions in Week 17.

"You are who you are on some level," said Romanowski, who's remembered for punching a teammate and spitting on an opponent among other indiscretions. "I heard that he's a guy that acts like he's a policeman on some level, where, hey, if somebody's going to wrong him, guess what? He's going to fix that.

"But at the end of the day, there are things you should and shouldn't do out on the football field. I've lived through that. And I regret some of the things I've done."

Romanowski played for four different teams during his career — San Francisco, Philadelphia, Denver and Oakland — and won four Super Bowls. As Suh looks for his next team, Romanowski said he should find a place that feels like home and a city where he's "valued, cared for and loved." In many ways, that place is a Detroit, whose fan base has embraced Suh since the Lions drafted him second overall in 2010.

Wherever he lands, Suh has a chance to turn any defense into one of the most ferocious in the league.

"He is big, nasty and violent," Romanowski said. "To have that rare combination of speed, quickness, strength, agility, all the things you need to be a defensive lineman and then to throw that nastiness in there, that's a rare combination. And he's got all of it.

"Don't get me wrong, there's not one team in the NFL that wouldn't love to have Ndamukong Suh on their defensive line."