Lewand likes Lions chances to re-sign Suh

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

For most of the past year, Lions executives have expressed confidence they'll be able to re-sign All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is set to become a free agent on March 10.

On Sunday before the Super Bowl, Lions president Tom Lewand shared his optimism that the team could re-sign Suh on WDIV's "Flashpoint."

"He wants to have success in the NFL obviously, but he wants to do that with us," Lewand said. "I think there's a very, very good chance that we can get something done in the next few weeks."

Lewand's comments on Suh were an extension of what he and general manager Martin Mayhew have said for the past calendar year. Before the NFL combine last February, Mayhew said he thought the Lions could extend Suh's contract once he signed with a new agent. Suh hired Jimmy Sexton in March, but the Lions tabled negotiations before training camp in July.

Even with negotiations tabled, Mayhew and Lewand said they thought they could reach a deal with Suh, sentiments Mayhew echoed when the Lions' season ended. The stance of the Lions brass is Suh wants to remain with the team that drafted him No. 2 overall in 2010.

"I think he does," Lewand said Sunday. "We've had a lot of good dialogue with Ndamukong over the course of his career, but more specifically over the course of the season. I spent some time with him last summer just before training camp started. We've have dialogue with him, of course, throughout the course of the season from Jim Caldwell to Martin Mayhew to myself to members of the Ford family, Bill Ford and Mrs. (Martha) Ford, and I really do believe that he's got a lot invested here in himself and the community and in himself and the football team."

Suh's rookie contract voids on Friday, but the Lions can continue to negotiate with him up to the start of free agency on March 10 and into free agency. Of course, if the Lions' confidence in reaching a long-term deal diminishes before then, the team can apply the franchise or transition tag by March 2 for the hefty price of $26.9 million.

Suh declined to address his contract situation for most of the season. Asked about his future after the Lions' wild-card round loss to the Dallas Cowboys, he said, "I can't answer that."

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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