Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah and the rest of the Detroit Lions rookies reported to the team's Allen Park training facility Monday to officially begin training camp and their 2013 season.
The veterans will report to camp Thursday and the Lions will hold their first walk thru Friday morning and practice Friday afternoon.
The Lions are expecting contributions from a number of first-year players, with Ansah, the No. 5-overall pick in the draft, at the top of the list.
"Coming back from Utah it feels more like reality now," Ansah told detroitlions.com Monday. "Everyone has been telling me that as a rookie it's going to be a grind and the longest year of your life."
Ansah spent his time from the end of mini-camp to Monday's reporting date in Utah continuing to workout and prepare himself for training camp.
"I've tried to stay mentally focused and get on the field and do some work and get better every day," Ansah said.
Ansah will have every opportunity to win the starting right defensive end spot in training camp. Lions coaches have been impressed with Ansah every step of the way, starting back in January when they had him in the Senior Bowl. That continued with his progress this spring
"You know, the upside of Ziggy Ansah is his character," Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said. "There is no doubt in my mind about that.
"Those kids that come over like he does, they're on a mission. It's not just, 'Well, you know, I get a chance to play in the NFL.' He made a path to go to the NFL and he worked hard to get here. He has tremendous physical talents.
"He ran a 21-something (200 meters) at 260 pounds. That's pretty hard to do. I know a little bit about track. He ran the 100-meter in under 10.8, 10.7, something like that. So, he can do those things. What we need to do is get into preseason and find out."
The pads will be on shortly and the hitting will begin. Ansah and all the other rookies will then learn what it's like to play in the NFL.
"I can't wait," Ansah said.