When it comes to his interactions with the media, Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah is a man of few words.
As he was swarmed in the locker room on Monday afternoon after the Lions’ 24-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the 29-year-old was immediately asked about his health. He was quick to answer.
“I feel amazing.”
Ansah returned to action against the Vikings after sitting for two months with a shoulder injury. The team limited Ansah to only 12 snaps on the day—something Ansah said he knew going into the game—but the Lions Pro Bowl defensive end notched another sack, his fourth-straight game played with a sack recorded.
When a player is coming off an injury, the concern isn’t necessarily about how the player feels during the game, but the day afterwards. That’s when you really feel some of the aches and pains from gameday.
So is Ziggy feeling any after effects or have any concerns about his health 24 hours after the game?
“No, not at all.”
Well, asked and answered.
The question now is whether Ansah will see his role increase going forward. He basically only played on passing downs against the Vikings, and while Detroit could certainly use his pass rushing skills along that defensive front, Ansah is also a pretty good run defender.
Detroit’s defense would certainly benefit from a healthy Ansah over Romeo Okwara—who has played over 75 percent of snaps in six different games this season, a far too high of total for any defensive linemen. To his credit, Okwara has earned a fairly solid 66.3 PFF grade, which is somewhat impressive considering he’s both new to the team and he has more defensive snaps than any other defensive lineman on the team.
With the season slowly slipping away and a gauntlet of teams awaiting on the schedule, the Lions know they can’t wait much longer to get Ziggy out there. However, despite his own confidence in his health, Ansah is not sure how big his role will be this week against the Chicago Bears.
“It’s a process, and we just take it week-by-week,” Ansah said Monday. “We’ll see how it goes during the week, and we’ll find out on Sunday how many reps I get.”