LIONS INSIDER

Reiff: 'I wanted to be here when the rookies reported'

Posted Jul 23, 2012

It is almost 930 miles from Parkston, South Dakota to Detroit, Michigan, according to Mapquest.com.

Reiff arrived in Detroit last night after driving that distance to sign his name on the dotted line of a new four-year rookie contract. The deal was signed in time for Reiff to join his fellow rookies for their Monday report-date to training camp.

“Just getting ready mentally to start working again,” Reiff said of the drive. “I was just thinking over some stuff.”

Reiff, 23, was selected 23rd overall by the Lions in April’s NFL Draft and is expected to compete for one of the starting tackle spots during training camp. That’s why it was so important for Reiff to be to camp on time.

“It was real important,” Reiff said of getting a deal done. “I didn’t want to miss any time. I thought it was a big part of this whole process to get it done by the time training camp started. I wanted to be here when the rookies reported."

The Lions have coveted Reiff’s versatility and have even left open the possibility of him playing some guard this season.

“I think the great thing about him is his versatility,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said of Reiff. “He’s played primarily tackle out here, but I think he could probably play guard if he needed to. But I see him playing tackle for us and we’ll see kind of how it all falls - if he’s a starter from Day 1 or if he eventually takes over. He’s an eventual starter and a long-time starter for us.”

Reiff said he didn’t play any guard for the Lions during the offseason training program, OTAs or the team’s mini-camp in June. He said Monday that coaches haven’t talked to him at all about playing guard, either, but he'd be open to playing wherever the team thought he might be able to help.

Reiff is expected to compete with Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus for a starting tackle spot beginning Thursday when veterans report to camp.