The Detroit Lions kicked off their offseason training program on Monday, two weeks earlier than usual since they have a new head coach. On-field coaching isn't allowed and these workouts are mainly just for strength and conditioning and rehabilitation, but this training program is the first real chance for the team to come together under the new coaching staff.
It's important to note that these workouts are voluntary, and as a result, not every single player was actually in attendance on Monday. Per Dave Birkett, wide receiver Jeremy Ross said that the Lions had a good turnout as the training program began, but defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was not there. As noted by Birkett, this isn't exactly something new for Suh:
Suh works out on his own alot. Last year, he got $2,100 of possible $5,600 workout bonus. And it's voluntary. Still think he should be there— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) April 7, 2014
Before we jump to any rash conclusions, let's once again remember that these are voluntary workouts. Also, let's remember that Suh was still voted a captain last year despite not showing up to every single one of the Lions' workouts. And one more thing: Let's remember that these workouts started two weeks earlier than usual because the Lions have a new head coach. Missing an offseason workout hasn't negatively affected Suh's performance on the field in the past, and in the grand scheme of things, this isn't a huge deal, especially when you keep in mind that Suh very well may be on his way to Detroit as we speak.
On the flip side, this really isn't a good look for Suh. It's the first workout under the new coaching staff, and from a PR standpoint, it doesn't look good that he didn't show up. I mean, even Nick Fairley was there on Monday. Granted, Suh's not in a situation where his work ethic is basically being questioned by his bosses as in Fairley's case, but again, it's just not a good look for a team captain.
In any case, I would hope that Suh will be in attendance later this month when the Lions have a voluntary minicamp from April 22-24. Missing a random workout is one thing, but skipping a minicamp and missing out on actual coaching would really be deserving of criticism.
UPDATE: Pretty much everything I just said about Suh can also be said about Calvin Johnson.
Just talked to new Lions S/special teamer Isa Abdul-Quddus, who said he hasn't seen Calvin Johnson yet at optional workouts.— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) April 8, 2014
Again, this isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, and perhaps Johnson is still off rehabbing from the two surgeries he had this offseason. Then again, like with Suh, it's not a good look for a team captain to not be there.
UPDATE II: Okay, so maybe Johnson was in fact at the workouts after all.
#Lions hosted WR Sammy Watkins on a pre-draft visit today. He got to meet Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate in the visit.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) April 8, 2014