Ansah jittery on field after signing big deal

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — It was only a rookie mini-camp, but Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah felt a little nervous energy. And why not?

Earlier in the day, the native of Ghana, Africa, who has only been playing football for three years, became an instant multimillionaire when he signed a five-year contract with the Detroit Lions.

A few hours later, on the first play of the team’s 11-on-11 drill, Ansah jumped offside.

Oops. Not the best early impression for a first-round draft pick to be making.

Asked if he was feeling some nerves, Ansah said, “I did. I was able to get it out.”

“This is an exciting time for me,” he added of the contract that reportedly includes a signing bonus of nearly $12 million. “It was a big deal. It’s a big part of my life that was over with.

“For a split second (after signing the contract), it was a sigh of relief. Just like taking a deep breath … and it was time to work.”

Other than the offside play, Ansah said, “I think I had a good day.”

The perception is that he was a “risky” pick for the Lions because of his lack of football experience.

Ansah said he’s talked to others about how to deal with trying to live up to being the No. 5 pick overall.

“If I even think about that, I might make mistakes on the field,” Ansah said. “All I’ve got to do is focus on the play, focus on what my coaches got for me and just work hard to get better every day.”

Ansah was the last of the Lions’ nine draft picks to sign a deal in time for the three-day camp.

One rookie who wasn’t on the field Friday was Darius Slay, a second-round pick who is considered a candidate to start at cornerback.

Slay is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery last week for a torn meniscus.

Schwartz doesn’t sound concerned about Slay falling too far behind by not participating in these practices.

Asked what Slay will miss, Schwartz answered, “Hardly anything.”

Schwartz said the Lions’ approach to Slay’s injury was to “err on the side of getting it done quickly.”

“If you miss a couple weeks in (regular) training camp, that’s a lot to miss,” the coach said. “A couple weeks now, it’s not as much.

“I’d be surprised if he’s not back sooner than later.”

All eight picks signed

The team also announced Friday that they had signed two other draft picks — defensive end Devin Taylor (fourth round) and punter Sam Martin (fifth round).