Lions’ Suh shows off dance moves during Children’s Hospital visit


Tim Twentyman / The Detroit News

Detroit — Tuesday was supposed be a routine day for 13-year-old Lamon Richardson at Detroit Children’s Hospital. Lamon expected to just get his annual checkup and be on his way.

But Lamon and his younger brother Laron, 11, ended up grooving to a Michael Jackson tune with one of the most intimidating defensive linemen in the NFL.

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“I think he’s pretty good,” Lamon said, eying the competition. “But he can’t beat me.”

The children were two of more than a dozen patients Lions rookie tackle Ndamukong Suh gave a surprise visit to and entertained with a dance-off to “Bad,” one of the King of Pop’s hit songs.

Suh, all 6-foot-4 and 304 pounds of him, had no problem literally jumping right into the new Michael Jackson “The Experience” video game for the Nintendo Wii.

When it comes to kids and a good cause, Suh claims he hast no problem getting out of his comfort zone.

“Giving back and having an opportunity to join in somebody else’s life that might be going through something tough,” Suh said of the visit’s purpose. “It brings joy to me because I know I would have definitely enjoyed it if somebody would have came and saw me when I was in the hospital.”

As for the actual dance-off, Suh admitted he had stiff competition. A productive NFL rookie season of 55 tackles, 8 sacks, and in 14 games didn’t appear to matter to a crowd that watched him groove.

“The video game allows players to dance to a variety of songs from Jackson’s catalogue including as “Beat It” and “Thriller,” and gives tips on how to master his dance routines.

A spontaneous visit from an NFL star definitely brightened 7-year-old Brook Madera’s day. She went to the hospital to see a gastrointestinal specialist and left enamored with the Suh’s presence.

“It was fun because I’ve never gotten to meet a football player before,” said Brook said. “He’s big. I’m a big fan now.”

Suh was at the hospital to support the “Experience the Glove” campaign that helps children around the world. He autographed a replica of Jackson’s famous glove that will be auctioned off on CharityBuzz.com. Proceeds will benefit the hospital.

Suh said he’s a big fan of Jackson’s music — “Bad” is his favorite — and suggested he could unveil a few MJ moves on the field, too, if he gets a chance.

“I have to take care of business first,” he said of his play. “After I take care of business I can possibly pull out an MJ move.”

Suh got some practice in two weeks ago during a segment of ESPN’s SportsCenter. He wore a Jackson replica glove and performed the moonwalk after a bit of nudging from the show’s anchors.

“You kind of just have to have the moves,” he said, laughing, about his video game skills.

During the visit, Suh revealed one Christmas wish: “I’d definitely like to win out these last couple games. Santa can always bring some wishes to us.”

Preview: Lions (3-10) at Buccaneers (8-5)


Tim Twentyman / The Detroit News

Lions (3-10) at Buccaneers (8-5)

1 p.m. SundayTV: FoxRadio: WXYT

Lions player to watch Ndamukong Suh

The rookie defensive tackle has become one of the most feared defensive linemen in the league.

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Suh leads the Lions, rookies and defensive tackles with eight sacks. His 52 tackles are fourth-best among defensive tackles.

Suh’s a player teams are having to scheme against and that extra attention is allowing teammates to make plays.

Through Week 14, the Lions are tied for eighth in the NFL with 25 takeaways and also are among the top 10 in sacks and QB pressures.

The Bucs are battling through injuries on their offense line, and if Suh can disrupt their backfield, the Lions have a chance to break their 26-game road losing streak.

Buccaneers player to watch Josh Freeman

Since he made his first NFL start in Week 9 as a rookie last season, Freeman has been one of the hottest young quarterbacks.

He’s led the youngest team in the league (average age of 25 years, 190 days) to an 8-5 record and into playoff contention.

Freeman is completing nearly 60 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions.

And he’s been good in the clutch: Seven of Freeman’s 11 career victories have been fourth-quarter or overtime comeback wins, including five this season.

“There’s a reason he got drafted in the first round,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.

He has a quarterback rating of 94.3 in the fourth quarter this season, second only to Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (109.4) among NFC quarterbacks.

“There’s a reason he got drafted in the first round,” said Lions coach Jim Schwartz of Freeman. “There’s a reason he’s playing well right now. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s got a good arm, can make all the throws, has good leadership qualities.”

Lions’ biggest advantage Running football

The Lions are coming off their best rushing performance of the season with 190 yards (4.6 average) in their 7-3 victory over the Packers last week.

“We got contributions from a lot of different people,” Schwartz said.

The Lions hope to continue that production against the Bucs, who ranks 27th against the run, allowing 133 yards per game.

The Bucs have allowed 97 rushing first downs. The league average is 78.

The Lions had seven different players carry the ball at least once against the Packers and four players finished with more than 30 yards rushing.

With their starting quarterback situation still up in the air, the Lions offense could use another successful rushing attack.

Lions’ biggest problem Second-half offense

The Bucs defense has given up the fourth-fewest second-half points this season and has five second-half shutouts.

The Bucs are tied for the third-most interceptions (18) in the league and rank seventh in opponent passer rating (77.5).

Meanwhile, the Lions offense has sputtered as of late in the second half. In their last four games, the Lions have scored 26 in the second half.

The Lions’ inability to put touchdowns on the board late in games has cost them a number of times this season.

ttwentyman@detnews.com