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Ndamukong Suh said he had other offers but figured the Rams would suit him best

The Los Angeles Times' Gary Klein and Lindsey Thiry discuss the addition of defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, who was introduced Friday after signing a one-year contract with the Rams, and receiver Brandin Cooks.

The suit worn by Ndamukong Suh was a flashy, plaid ensemble that made Rams coach Sean McVay sit up and take notice.

But throughout Suh's introductory news conference on Friday, the team's newest star defensive lineman came off as low-key if not determined.

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Suh, a five-time Pro Bowl player, is excited about joining a Rams team that won the NFC West last season and, after several notable offseason moves, is regarded as a Super Bowl contender.

"I would say we're in pretty good shape on paper," Suh said, "but we have a lot of things to prove, including myself.

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"I always play with a chip on my shoulder. And that's really kind of my focus, is to come in here and put in a lot of work and make sure that I prove my worth and kind of go from there."

Suh, 31, joins a defense that includes tackle Aaron Donald — the reigning NFL defensive player of the year — and recently acquired Pro Bowl cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, among others.

Rams Read coach Sean McVay, right, introduces new defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in Thousand Oaks on Friday.
Rams Read coach Sean McVay, right, introduces new defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in Thousand Oaks on Friday. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The Rams released cornerback Kayvon Webster on Friday to create salary-cap space for Suh's one-year, $14-million contract.

Suh has 51½ sacks in eight NFL seasons.

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"You just look at the production as player," McVay said. "Getting to know the person, we feel like this is going to be a really good match."

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips quipped that the Rams had won "The Suh-per Bowl" by signing the 6-foot-4, 307-pound lineman, who earned $60 million the last three seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

"He's a dominant player — he's been that way his whole career," Phillips said, adding that Suh, "made a lot of money in the league because he's a great player."

The Rams' pursuit of Suh began after the Dolphins released him on March 14.

Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh talks with reporters after signing a one-year contract with the Rams.

Suh, who grew up in Portland, Ore., visited the Rams, the New Orleans Saints and the Tennessee Titans during a free-agent tour. He reportedly received overtures from the Seattle Seahawks and an offer from the New York Jets that was rescinded.

But the opportunity to be close to his family, to play under Phillips and McVay, and to be reunited with strength and conditioning coach Ted Rath — a former member of staffs in Detroit and Miami — tilted him toward the Rams, Suh said.

"I don't think any decision of this magnitude is easy," he said. "There's a lot of other great teams that I had offers from and had an opportunity to join but I think this was the best fit for me."

Suh said he had met Donald previously and spoke with him during the decision-making process.

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"He wasn't recruiting me, but he was definitely excited about the opportunity from my vantage point of being able to team up and play together," Suh said.

Rams general manager Les Snead, left, and head coach Sean McVay, right, introduce new defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, center, in Thousand Oaks on Friday.
Rams general manager Les Snead, left, and head coach Sean McVay, right, introduce new defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, center, in Thousand Oaks on Friday. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Suh was not fined by the NFL during his three seasons with the Dolphins, but he accrued nearly $300,000 in fines for overly aggressive play with the Lions.

After the Rams agreed to terms with Suh on March 26, McVay said that the tackle had acknowledged his past and moved on.

Asked about his reputation Friday, Suh said Rams fans should judge for themselves.

"Reputation is something that you create on your own but also gets skewed in a lot of different ways for other people's opinions," he said. "I would say to anybody, and all the fans, just come up to me as a normal human being to ask me who I am and get to know me and have a conversation with me.

"I believe it's that simple. That's what coach McVay did, and I think that's why we hit it off from Day 1."

So was his reputation skewed?

"I definitely think everybody's reputation is skewed," he said. "I don't think you can know any particular person unless you've been in their shoes and been around them 24/7/365 to know exactly who that person is."

Suh joins Donald and Michael Brockers on what could be a dominating front in Phillips' 3-4 scheme. The trio will provide a powerful inside pass rush and run-stopping capability, Phillips said.

"You got three of them that stuff everything inside, so you force [opponents] to try and get outside on you," Phillips said, "and we've got a lot of speed on our defense, so it should help us."

The Rams introduce new defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, who signed a one-year, $14 million contract, and will play alongside NFL defensive player of the year Aaron Donald.

Suh said playing alongside Donald would involve a process.

"It's going to start in [organized-team activities] and practices," Suh said. "Understanding how he likes to rush, how I like to rush, how we play the run together.

"And that's when it will all unfold from there to see how we mesh together."

It remains to be seen if Donald will be present for voluntary offseason workouts that begin April 16.

Last year, Donald did not attend offseason workouts, did not participate in drills during mandatory minicamp and did not attend training camp because of a contract dispute.

Donald, who is scheduled to earn about $6.9 million this season, is seeking an extension that would eclipse the $114-million, six-year deal Suh signed with the Dolphins before the 2015 season.

General manager Les Snead said throughout last season and this offseason that signing Donald was a top priority, but he has given no timeline for a deal to be done.

As he made a flurry of offseason trades and executed several free-agent signings, Snead insisted the Rams would have room under the salary cap for their new additions.

They created room by releasing Webster, who was scheduled to carry a salary-cap number of about $4 million, according to overthecap.com.

Webster, a starter in 2017, suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 14 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Asked if Webster was released to clear cap space, Snead declined to offer specifics.

"The NFL is a business," he said, adding, "You don't want to go through that. You have to do it sometimes and that's what we had to do [Friday]."

Said McVay: "These are always tough decisions, but ones that sometime you have to be able to make."

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

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