The Detroit Lions kicked off their 2015 offseason training program on Monday with their first set of voluntary workouts. Actual on-field work won't begin until the Lions hold their first set of OTAs at the end of May, but the start of the offseason training program gave them a chance to come together as a team for the first time since the 2014 season ended.
Last year, the big story at the beginning of the Lions' offseason training program was Ndamukong Suh's absence. He simply preferred to work out on his own, so he didn't show up for voluntary workouts. I suppose it's worth noting that Suh was present at the Miami Dolphins' first voluntary workout on Monday, but that's irrelevant to the Lions.
What is relevant to the Lions is that safety James Ihedigbo was the only player absent on Monday. His absence came as no surprise considering we found out earlier this month that Ihedigbo had no plans to attend the Lions' voluntary workouts as long as his contract remains unchanged. He wants a new deal, and until that happens, Ihedigbo likely won't be taking part in the Lions' voluntary workouts.
Ihedigbo's absence wasn't apparently discussed by Jim Caldwell when he met with the Lions on Monday. Rather, Caldwell focused on this:
Lions CB Crezdon Butler said Jim Caldwell's message to players today was that the path to building a good team begins now, not in September.— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) April 20, 2015
Ihedigbo aside, it seems like Lions players were excited to get back to work on Monday:
Feels good to be back in Detroit.Time to go get this work come Monday. I miss my brothers, and I know they miss the Fifa and ping pong champ— Golden Tate (@ShowtimeTate) April 18, 2015
Back in Detroit!! Let's get this thing rolling Monday #NewDay— Larry Warford (@wardaddy_75) April 18, 2015
Back in Detroit ready to put this work in come monday.— Julian Stanford (@Mr_NxtLvl) April 19, 2015
Getting ready to head back to the Detroit!! Man I miss football #LionsBlood— Darius slay (@_bigplayslay9) April 19, 2015
Josh Bynes (@bynestime56) April 20, 2015
Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) April 20, 2015
Mohammed Seisay (@SmooveSeisay) April 20, 2015
Felt good to get back to work— Cornelius Lucas (@larry_lovestein) April 20, 2015