He started his playing career with Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1958. After playing in the NFL, he returned to Hamilton in 1960, where he would play seven more seasons. He played for the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1967–1969 and the Toronto Argonauts in 1970. He spent a total of 12 years as a player in the CFL and played in eight Grey Cups, winning four.
While with the Tiger-Cats, he was noted for being both a defensive back as well as a placekicker and he led the CFL in points several years.
Sutherin was honoured on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Wall of Fame at Ivor Wynne Stadium on October 24, 2008.
After his playing career, Don Sutherin was an assistant coach with the Edmonton Eskimos from 1985 to 1990 and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1990 to 1994. He was promoted to head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1994 and remained in that role until 1997.