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NFC North coaches not weeping over Suh's departure

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Ndamukong Suh sacked Teddy Bridgewater twice in the first Lions-Vikings meeting in 2014.

Phoenix — A couple NFC North head coaches hesitated Wednesday when asked for their reaction to Ndamukong Suh leaving the Lions to sign with the Miami Dolphins.

But Minnesota's Mike Zimmer and Green Bay's Mike McCarthy couldn't hide their delight during the NFC coaches breakfast at the NFL's annual meetings.

"We were trying to get (the Dolphins) some money to take him," Zimmer said, jokingly, when asked if he made calls on Miami's behalf.

McCarthy, not the most nimble of men, had a good joke, too.

"I'm trying to teach my 6-year-old to do a cartwheel right now, not that I'm doing any," he said. "I thought it was a win-win. It was good to see him leave the division and it was great to see Joe Philbin improve his football team."

Philbin is the head coach in Miami and was one of McCarthy's assistants in Green Bay from 2006-11.

Suh signed a six-year, $114 million deal with $60 million guaranteed with the Dolphins two weeks ago, becoming the highest paid defensive player in the NFL by a wide margin. The Lions offered him six years and $102 million with $58 million guaranteed, but Suh chose to leave the team that drafted him second overall in 2010.

In his five seasons in Detroit, Suh was a first-team All-Pro three times and a Pro Bowler four times.

"People lose and gain free agents all the time," Bears coach John Fox said. "There's no automatic science to any of this. He's a dominant player. That's a tough matchup for most offensive fronts, and I wish him the best."

When asked for his reaction to Suh leaving the division, Zimmer smiled and looked at a Vikings spokesman before answering honestly. In Zimmer's first game as a head coach against the Lions in 2014, the Lions sacked quarterback Teddy Bridgewater eight times with Suh notching two, as well as three tackles for loss.

"I was glad. That's fine with me," Zimmer said. "He is a reckless, physical, dominating defensive player, so you're always looking for those kind of guys and Miami was able to get him. There's a few more guys I'd like to get out of (the division) if we could."

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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