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TAMPA — Ndamukong Suh and wife Katya welcomed their first children together March 26, just nine days after the start of the free-agent signing period.
Kingston Rudolph Bongjo Suh, named by his father, arrived first, weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces and measuring 21 inches. Khari David Fombuh Suh, born 15 minutes after his brother, weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces and also measured 21 inches.
Combined with winning Super Bowl 55 and signing a new one-year, $8 million contract to return to the Bucs, life couldn’t be much better for the defensive tackle.
“It’s been a great 2021 so far,” Suh said Monday. “I couldn’t imagine it being laid out any better.”
Now that the twins have arrived, Suh is focused on going for two again. As in winning back-to-back Super Bowls.
“I’ve been super blessed from the standpoint of being able to have a ton of individual accolades, and this past year finally had the opportunity to ... be one of the linchpins of the success of a dominant defense to lead our way to the playoffs, but at the same time close out a Super Bowl win in great fashion,” Suh said.
“... I wanted an opportunity to come back with a group of guys that have an opportunity to go back and earn another ring.”
Suh was one of the main cogs in the Bucs’ No. 1 run defense. At an age when most players’ production begins to decline, Suh, who turned 34 in January, recorded six sacks in the regular season and added 1.5 more in Super Bowl 55.
“Without question I think I had a better year,” Suh said of his second season under coordinator Todd Bowles. “I think I found ways to be more successful in the particular defense we were running and I understand how I’m put in the defense a lot of ways, where sometimes I have to be a decoy to free up other guys — which I don’t mind doing and I’ve done it a lot in my career — but also I have to join the party myself.”
Suh said he never considered retirement and had received interest from other undisclosed teams who are playoff contenders.
“Tampa was my first choice,” Suh said. “ ... It was always the ultimate goal to come back. I feel comfortable in that city. I have a great relationship with that staff. Like I said before and I’ve said many times before, I love playing in Coach Bowles’ defense.”
It was an easy decision for the Bucs. With the signing of Suh, they return all 22 starters from their Super Bowl 55 team.
“His play in the interior of our defensive line has been an integral part of our leading the league in rush defense in back-to-back seasons and also boosted our pass rush‚” general manager Jason Licht said.
Entering his 12th NFL season, Suh says he often is chided by teammates for being the old man of the group. Though he is, in fact, the senior member of the defense, he played in 74 percent of the defensive snaps in 2020, more than any Bucs interior defensive lineman.
In fact, Suh is one of the most durable players in the NFL, having started 147 consecutive regular-season games dating back to 2011, the longest active streak of any player. He’s never missed a game due to injury.
“The team is fairly young and I’m considered a super old head, and a lot of the young guys make fun of me because I ask about some of the trends that are going on and sometimes I’ve got to ask questions,” Suh said, “But overall it’s a great group of guys that are all pretty much egoless but love having the opportunity of being able to win, be successful, but at the same time have a lot of fun.”
Suh and Katya are back in Portland, Ore., and getting help with the twins from their parents.
“(Katya has) done an amazing job. She wanted to have (the boys) naturally,” he said. “She was amazing in the birth room doing that, especially with two very big twins.
“With regard to their names, Kingston was the first one that came out and my mother is from Kingston, Jamaica,” Suh said. “There’s also some underlying meanings of King, kind of a group of friends, we all grew up in Portland together, kind of see us as the four kings. ...
“Khari, his name has the meaning of King. We love the names. We each decided one of each. I did Kingston and she did Khari. ... Their middle names come from their grandfathers, my father, a couple close friends.”
For now, Suh’s life is babies and bottles and burping. Working to double up on Super Bowl rings with the Bucs will have to wait.
“It’s a life right now that I don’t even think or worry about sleep,” Suh said. “I focus on working out in the mornings, and then I’m all day with them.”
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