NDAMUKONG SUH can play in Detroit's wild-card game after the defensive tackle's one-game NFL suspension was reduced to a $70,000 fine.
Hearing officer Ted Cottrell heard Suh's expedited appeal yesterday and ruled that Suh can play Sunday at Dallas but must pay the fine.
Suh originally was suspended for stepping on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' left leg twice last Sunday in a loss to Green Bay for the NFC North title. He stepped on Rodgers once with each foot, which violated unnecessary roughness rules, according to the league.
But Cottrell, jointly appointed by the NFL and the players' union, rescinded the suspension.
The Lions said they would not comment until today, when Suh will be available at their training complex.
One Cowboys defensive player, end Jeremy Mincey, seemed surprised by Cottrell's decision.
"I didn't understand that," Mincey said. "You've got to play the game the right way. I'm not knocking him. I like his intensity. I love how hard he plays. But there comes a point where you've got to think before you react.
"Sometimes it happens. I've done plays like what Suh did, so I'm not mad at him. It happens like that sometimes. You're frustrated, you're down and you're losing and things like that."
Suh has a long list of fines and one previous suspension, for two games in 2011 for stepping on the right arm of Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. Suh has been fined eight times in his career, but this is the first in 2014.
Suh was fined $100,000 for an illegal block on Vikings center John Sullivan in Week 1 of 2013 during an interception return. That was the largest fine in NFL history for on-field conduct, not counting suspensions.
The suspension was imposed Monday by Merton Hanks, the NFL's vice president of football operations. Hanks ruled that Suh engaged in a non-football act that placed his opponent at unnecessary risk of injury.
In his letter to Suh, Hanks wrote, "You did not respond in the manner of someone who had lost his balance and accidentally contacted another player who was lying on the ground. This illegal contact, specifically the second step and push off with your left foot, clearly could have been avoided."
Hanks further noted "you unnecessarily stepped on your opponent's unprotected leg as he lay on the ground unable to protect himself."
Cottrell's decision means the Lions will have one of their key defensive cogs. Suh finished the season with a team-high 8 1/2 sacks and helped Detroit rank second overall and first in run defense.
* Coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese are getting one more chance to turn around the New York Giants - or else. Co-owner John Mara announced that Coughlin and Reese will be back in 2015 despite an "embarrassing" 6-10 record, two straight losing seasons, and missing the playoffs 5 of the past 6 years. Mara stressed that everyone in the organization will be on the spot next year.
* Dallas defensive tackle Henry Melton will miss the playoffs because of a bruised right knee sustained Sunday at Washington. The Cowboys placed Melton on injured reserve and replaced him by signing 9-year veteran linebacker James Anderson, who was with Tennessee this season.
* Arizona coach Bruce Arians said quarterback Drew Stanton would have to complete at least one practice to be able to play Saturday in the wild-card game at Carolina. Stanton had his injured knee scoped last Wednesday. The more likely starter is Ryan Lindley, who completed 23 of 39 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted three times in Sunday's 20-17 loss at San Francisco.
* New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and consultants Ron Wolf and Charley Casserly will fly to Seattle this weekend to speak with Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive-line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable about the Jets' coaching position, and director of pro personnel Trent Kirchner about the GM job.
* Pittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell spent part of the day yesterday testing his hyperextended right knee on an exercise bike. The Steelers signed running back Ben Tate as a backup plan in case Bell's knee doesn't respond in time for Saturday night's wild-card game against Baltimore.
* Aaron Rodgers is confident his left calf will feel better when the Green Bay Packers play their first playoff game Jan. 11.
* Jacksonville fired offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch after the Jaguars ranked 32nd and 31st in total yards in his two seasons. Players complained privately in recent weeks about Fisch having little or no feel for play-calling and belittling rookie quarterback Blake Bortles in practice. Jacksonville could reach out to fired Chicago coach Marc Trestman, who has become close friends with Jaguars coach Gus Bradley.
* While Johnny Manziel spent the first hours of his offseason relaxing in Miami, the Browns made it clear he's got plenty of work to do to be their starting quarterback next season. One day after Manziel promised to change after being a disappointment and distraction, GM Ray Farmer said he would not shy away from using one of Cleveland's two first-round picks in next spring's draft on a quarterback.
Manziel didn't distinguish himself in six quarters and was a headache with his off-the-field shenanigans. Still, Farmer thinks Manziel can be a serviceable quarterback. "I do think he can develop into a solid starter in this league," he said.