Last week, the Detroit Lions decided that defensive end Ezekiel Ansah was worth placing the franchise tag on, likely earning him somewhere between $17-18 million for the 2018 season. And it seems they made that decision with the knowledge that Ansah had undergone another medical procedure this offseason.
Yes, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett, Ansah underwent a “clean-out procedure” on his knee after the 2017 season had finished.
Ansah started the 2017 preseason on the physically unable to perform list and was only taken off just before the regular season started. Though he didn’t miss a game due to the knee injury, he was listed as questionable every single week (through Week 9). In that time, Ansah only managed 18 tackles and 4.0 sacks.
Of course, there’s no reason to panic here. Clean-out procedures are quite common in the NFL and not considered all that serious of a procedure. If the Lions chose to apply the franchise tag, it’s a good sign Ansah is not in danger of missing any time for the 2018 season, and he could realistically be ready by next month’s offseason workouts.
Last week, Lions general manager Bob Quinn spoke to Ansah’s perseverance through the multitude of injuries that have plagued him throughout his career:
“Whether it was his ankles in 2016, to this year with the knee and a couple other things that popped up, he works extremely hard behind the scenes to get ready for Sundays,” Quinn said. “I have a great deal of respect for that.”
Ansah has only missed seven games in his five-year career in Detroit, but his effectiveness has undoubtedly been slowed at times due to injuries. We’ll see if his knee holds up throughout the offseason, but it’s something to keep an eye on.