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Teryl Austin on Ndamukong Suh: He really wants to be part of a winner

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Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was the subject of some conversation recently when FOX Sports analyst and former NFL fullback Heath Evans reported that Suh’s teammates felt he was a problem in the locker room and wasn’t held accountable by former head coach Jim Schwartz.

Evans didn’t quote any of those teammates directly while several were willing to put their names to positive comments about Suh, who is entering the final year of his contract and is expected to talk about an extension with the team this offseason. On Friday, new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin spoke to reporters and stressed accountability in general for players who make mistakes and said they’d work hard to identify the best leaders on the roster.

Austin didn’t directly tie Suh into either of those goals, but did say his initial read on Suh is a positive one.

“I’ve seen him a few times around. We didn’t talk about schemes. We just talked. We’ll have plenty of time to talk about football,” Austin said, via the team’s website. “The one thing I can tell talking to the guy is, he really wants to win. That’s really the most important thing. It’s not so much if he goes to the Pro Bowl. I think he really and truly wants to be part of a winner. That’s good. You want your best players to be for the team and to be able to say, ‘Okay, the most important thing for me is winning, not how many awards I get.’ I kind of felt that from him.”

Austin and Suh may not have talked much about schemes, but he seems to have a big role in mind for Suh and the team’s other defensive linemen. While it appears there will be more blitzing than there was under Schwartz, Austin spoke highly of the team’s front four and is expecting them to be at the forefront of what the Lions do defensively moving forward.