August 12, 2014 at 1:00 am

Lions' Ziggy Ansah returns: 'It feels good to be back'

Josh Katzenstein on Ziggy Ansah at Lions camp
Josh Katzenstein on Ziggy Ansah at Lions camp: Sports writer Josh Katzenstein talks about the return of the defensive end .

Allen Park Second-year defensive end Ziggy Ansah has missed so many practices that one of his coaches insisted he remind his Lions teammates who he is Tuesday.

It started in the team meeting room, Ansah said. (Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin) was like, Lets have this new guy introduce himself.

Im the new guy on the block.

The Lions took Ansah off the physically unable to perform list Tuesday, and he practiced for the first time since last season, though he did not participate in team drills.

Ansah underwent shoulder surgery in February to correct a problem dating back to college, and he was a casual observer during the entire offseason programs and first two weeks of training camp.

It feels good to be back, he said. I just try to work out and be better every single day.

Ansah said hes not quite fully healthy, and coach Jim Caldwell said he wont play in Fridays game in Oakland.

I dont think anyone is 100 percent, Ansah said. We just try to work to be better, and thats what Im doing right now.

During training camp, Ansah regularly worked to the side with a trainer, and he also took mental reps on the sideline. But theres no substitution for reps on the field.

I think Ive taken a lot of mental reps, and all Ive got to do now is just catch up on the reps that Ive missed, he said.

Ansahs teammates were glad to see him return Tuesday.

He showed that he was able to step in as a rookie and make great plays for us, and he has a different energy and a different motor than most guys on the field, cornerback Rashean Mathis said. I loved what Id seen from him last year, and a healthy Zig is a better Detroit Lions.

The fifth overall pick in last years draft, Ansah led all rookies with a team-high eight sacks. This season, hell start on the open side of the line, and the Lions hope to see him improve on his solid rookie season.

Hes a force outside and he provides so much energy for us, linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. Hes definitely a difference maker.

jkatzenstein@detrotinews.com
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Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah returned to practice Tuesday. / Daniel Mears / Detroit News