Lions' Ziggy Ansah says he's healthy, 'grateful' for contract

By Matt Schoch
Special to The Detroit News

Allen Park — After getting hit with the franchise tag for his sixth season with the Lions, Ziggy Ansah says he’s healthy and ready to have a big year.

“I feel great and I’m healthy, simple as that,” he said Tuesday after practice. “This is the best I’m going to feel, as of today.”

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is playing this season under the franchise tag given by the Lions.

What about compared to prior years?

“That’s history.”

The history has been mixed for Ansah, who had 14.5 sacks as a Pro Bowler in 2015 and ended last season with a flurry, totaling 12 sacks.

The history also includes back, ankle and knee injuries that has prevented him from getting a long-term deal.

Instead, the 29-year-old Ansah will get $17.1 million to play this season, something he said he’s “grateful” for on Tuesday.

“I’m not disappointed. Why should I be?” Ansah said. “On the other hand, there’s 1,000 people in the NFL who would prefer to be in my position. It’s perfect.”

To earn the big payday, Ansah would need to lead a pass rush which has been slow in the preseason, as Detroit has totaled one sack in three games.

He said he’s excited for his new role in Matt Patricia’s defense.

“Obviously it’s going to be a dynamic scheme where I might do every and anything,” Ansah said. “I feel like I can have a big season in any defense.”

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Mayfield to start

First overall draft pick Baker Mayfield will start at quarterback Thursday for Cleveland in Detroit.

“He’s obviously a very talented player, a strong arm, he’s very athletic, he’s mobile, very confident, does a great job with ball security,” Lions head coach Matt Patricia said. “His confidence in the pocket is pretty unbelievable for a guy that is working with an offensive line that’s completely new to him.”

Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma, has completed 57.8 percent of his passes this preseason, including two touchdowns and one interception.

The Browns have three former Lions in tight end Darren Fells, offensive tackle Greg Robinson, and quarterback Drew Stanton (Farmington Hills/Michigan State).

They also feature former Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers and former Eastern Michigan quarterback Brogan Roback, along with linebacker Justin Currie (Royal Oak/Western Michigan), and wide receivers Jeff Janis (Tawas City/Saginaw Valley State) and Da’Mari Scott (Muskegon Heights).

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.