Ndamukong Suh, the Detroit Lions’ 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive lineman, is one of the NFL’s best players. Everyone knows about his ferocity, his footwork and his ability, as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said last week, to “ruin a game” for an opposing offense.
Less known about Suh is his carefully collected network of business titans, a Rolodex that could rival many in the sports world—or the business world, for that matter. He is the NFL’s secret finance nerd.
Warren Buffett and a handful of other business moguls have become a trusted group of mentors to Suh, who signed a five-year deal worth over $60 million when he entered the NFL in 2010 and is expected to land a massive new deal before next season. (Despite his love of business deals, Suh said he is leaving that contract to his agent.)
Suh routinely meets with Buffett, restaurant investor Junior Bridgeman and former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Moglia, who is now the head football coach at Coastal Carolina, among several others. This off-season, Suh met with former NBA star Magic Johnson (“I took 10 pages of notes,” Suh said) and retired Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, both successful businessmen themselves.
“I’m just glad he’s not running against me for a board spot,” said Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway. “Everyone tries to hustle sports stars. I think he knows I’m not trying to take him; I’m not trying to get involved in his finances.” Continue reading