Lions’ Ansah focuses on returning to health, not future

Eric Coughlin
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah said Thursday he’s been dealing with injuries “all year long,” and wouldn’t speculate on his future with the team once he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Ansah has dealt with several injuries over the past two years, slowing his production after notching 14.5 sacks in 2015, his Pro Bowl season. He missed three games in 2016 with an ankle injury and registered just two sacks, all while playing through a shoulder injury.

“I’ve been dealing with a lot all year long,” Ansah said. “I just have got to take care of my body. I have to feel better than I did this year. There are good days and bad days, regardless of how healthy you are. I don’t think anybody’s 100 percent in this entire league.”

After getting three sacks Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, Ansah is up to nine this season, but the injuries still linger. He missed training camp with a knee injury, missed a game with a back injury and has ankle problems again.

Ansah said he was pretty confident he could get back to full health, but wouldn’t say why, explaining he would talk to trainers when the season was over.

“I just know the kind of player I am and what I’m going to give on the field, so I’ll be back to normal,” Ansah said.

Ansah was drafted in the first round (fifth overall) in 2013. Before the 2016 season, the Lions exercised the fifth year on his rookie contract for 2017, making him an unrestricted free agent heading into next season.

The Ghanaian-born Ansah refused to speculate on his future with the team, claiming that he’s technically still under contract for one more game. He was especially dismissive when asked about the possibility of the Lions using the franchise tag on him, which would keep Ansah in Detroit for at least the next year.

“First and fore(most), I’m still under contract. We’ll talk about the contract when it’s up,” Ansah said.

When asked if he wants to be on the Lions next year, he responded with a question of his own.

“Why would I not?”

Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.