Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

Run it back. That was the prevailing mantra for the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2020 season, as they sought to repeat as NFL champions before running into a buzzsaw in Super Bowl LV. Having handily dismantled Patrick Mahomes and his high-powered offense, along with Tom Brady using a vintage Rob Gronkowski to surgically remove the heart of their defense, it’s the Buccaneers looking to carry out that mission when the 2021 season gets underway — a feat that might include keeping the band together. The latter point is something Ndamukong Suh is all for, as the 34-year-old defensive lineman enters unrestricted free agency this March.

For his part, he’s not mulling retirement at all, and instead is riding a wave of euphoria he’d like to double up on with Brady and the Buccaneers, if they’ll have him. By all accounts, including a public declaration by head coach Bruce Arians himself during the celebratory parade, it should be an easy deal for all involved. 

“My goal is to come back and have an opportunity to go win another championship,” Suh said, via Albert Breer of “Me and Tom [Brady] spoke the other day about that opportunity, as well as with Jason Licht. I don’t know if you saw our parade celebration on that podium, coach [Bruce Arians] said I’m not going anywhere, and he’s usually a man of his word. So I look forward to the opportunity to continue to play, especially for Tampa. 

“And I honestly believe I have a lot of elite, great talent left in me to play. I’m not ready to hang them up yet.”

Suh took down Mahomes in Super Bowl LV to the tune of 1.5 sacks, a team-high in that category, to land the first NFL championship of his 11-year career. His performance in The Big Game was far from unexpected, considering he’s been a key figure on the Bucs defensive line all season, logging 16 regular season starts en route to 44 combined tackles and six sacks (the most since 2015). The five-time All-Pro has found a sort of Fountain of Youth under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and it certainly helps to have players like Vita Vea, Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett flanking him — making it impossible to double team anyone and allowing each to thrive in one-on-one matchups. 

So yes, count Suh in for another slice of that pie. And as far as retirement goes, he’s not only waving it off in 2021, but potentially for a long time to come, and it’s not simply because he feels he can still perform at a high level.

He has another reason as well, one of the fatherly variety.

“Along with being able to still have that energy — that fire to go out there — I think the biggest thing that pushed me throughout this season was knowing I have twins on the way,” Suh said. “Being able to have them come into this world as champions, but then also me play a couple years, maybe five, who knows? That they get to see me on the football field and experience that at a certain age, obviously they’re going to be super young, going back this year. 

“But just for them to be able to experience and be around that environment [would be great].”

By senior