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Reiff settling in at Lions' rookie minicamp

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ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP)

Riley Reiff was on the field for the start of rookie minicamp with the Detroit Lions - and that was about all coach Jim Schwartz could really say about the new offensive lineman.

''He knows how to line up - looks good lining up,'' Schwartz said Friday. ''We don't have any pads on. You don't want to get too head-over-heels on linemen and running backs, and people like that, that make their living in the trenches out here, with non-contact practices.''

The Lions took Reiff in the first round of last month's draft with the 23rd pick. A standout at Iowa, he could eventually replace left tackle Jeff Backus. He may also have a shot to push right tackle Gosder Cherilus, perhaps as soon as this year.

Detroit brings back an explosive offense led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson, but the Lions weren't consistently effective running the ball last season.

Reiff was the only offensive lineman they drafted. He said he spent some time in Iowa training after being picked by the Lions, and he's now trying to settle in with his new teammates.

''It's a learning process, getting your feet wet, just going out, working on fundamentals and stuff,'' Reiff said. ''It's a good start.''

Reiff is listed at 6-foot-6, 313 pounds. He was a state wrestling champion in high school.

He is the only one of Detroit's eight draft picks who hasn't signed a contract, now that cornerback Dwight ''Bill'' Bentley - a third-rounder from Louisiana-Lafayette - reached a four-year deal Friday.

''It'll get taken care of,'' Reiff said. ''The sooner the better.''

Although he's without an agreement, Reiff is participating in the three-day minicamp anyway.

''I just learned some plays, some technique,'' he said. ''There's quite a bit, but you're expected to know it.''

Wide receiver Ryan Broyles, a second-round pick out of Oklahoma, was on the field but wore a baseball hat and didn't do much. He's coming off major knee surgery.

''He's not ready to do any of this stuff yet, but he is working very well,'' Schwartz said. ''I think we have a very good situation for him, because we don't have to put him out there the very first rookie camp practice and expect him to be making plays.''

Detroit's top three draft picks last year - defensive lineman Nick Fairley, receiver Titus Young and running back Mikel Leshoure - were all limited to varying degrees by injuries. Having a healthy draft class is important, maybe more than it used to be.

''I think it's a fact of life in the NFL now that you need contributions from rookies. I remember a long time ago when I first started being a fan of the NFL, there was a common thought that every rookie you had on the field equaled one loss,'' Schwartz said. ''I think those days are gone. I think college players are ready.''

The Lions have high hopes for Reiff, even if he isn't doing all that much on the field at the outset. He's still impressed coaches with his work behind the scenes.

''Walkthroughs, meetings, things like that,'' Schwartz said. ''You can tell that he's an experienced, smart, confident player, and he's going to do well for us.''

Tagged: Lions, Riley Reiff

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