Delmas eases into training camp practices
ALLEN PARK, Mich. – It was only the first day of training camp, but safety Louis Delmas – the emotional leader of the Detroit Lions’ defense - was back.
He came onto the field as if it was a game day, dancing, prancing and posing to the delight of the fans watching at the team’s practice facility.
Delmas only stretched and did the individual drills at the beginning of Friday’s workout, but that’s all part of the plan to try to keep his often-injured knees healthy this season.
The rest of the time he cheered on his teammates and then held court with the media in an animated post-practice interview.
“I haven’t been here in a long time,” said Delmas, who missed most of the team’s off-season program while rehabbing back home in Florida. “I haven’t been practicing in a long time.
“It was just to give the fans what they want,” he said of the emotional entrance. “I show them my appreciation by doing that.”
This was a much different Delmas than the one who was annoyed and couldn’t hide his frustration when reporters approached him last month during the Lions’ minicamp.
He wasn’t participating in the workouts, was angry and didn’t want to be asked about it.
“Oh man, I don’t want to talk about that,” Delmas said of his mood during the minicamp. “But you know what, you brought it up so … I am a lot happier. I feel great. I’m just happy to be back intune with my teammates.
“I love to get out there with my teammates. I love the game of football. The days I’m away from it, very stressful.
“All your friends go out. You can’t go out because you’re stuck at home. You get a little upset.”
At least for now, Delmas is much more at ease. He was humorous and insightful with reporters:
On the worst part of training camp opening, Delmas answered, “You’re used to working out three hours a day and then go have a Mojito on the beach or something. But now we’re in camp, it’s a grind season. But we all do it for a purpose. We’re trying to win a Super Bowl.”
On the addition of standout free-agent safety Glover Quin, Delmas said, “A true, true ballplayer. That’s something we didn’t have here in a long time. I’m not down-talking any one of my teammates or anything like that. But he’s a true definition of a ballplayer. Not just (No.) 27, not just Quin. He actually can anticipate things and go out there and make plays that aren’t supposed to be made. I’m excited to get out there with him.”
On whether he was impressed by the pass-breakups by cornerback Bill Bentley: “Without a doubt. He reminded me (of myself) out there my rookie year, my second year. Just by him celebrating like that (after making a play), that made me want to go out there that much more.”
On his role: “This year I don’t plan on being at the line of scrimmage that much anymore. I got him (Quin). I know that he’s going to take a big lump and a couple big bricks off my shoulders. I know I could definitely benefit from him and he can definitely benefit from me. I’m just excited to see what the combo does.”
On when he might be ready for a full practice: “First full practice? I practiced full today. Individual and supporting my teammates.”
Delmas admitted that when he’s not on the field, “I feel like I’m losing my job.”
In reality, he’s not. The Lions need the inspiration he brings to the secondary. They just need him available on Sundays more often this season. He missed eight games last year and five the year before.
During one reporter’s question, Delmas interrupted, smiled and said, “I’m actually catching a cramp in my calf right now, but don’t worry about it. Go ahead.”
Delmas said he doesn’t really know when he’ll be ready to take part in a complete practice. Coach Jim Schwartz said Delmas probably will take Saturday off and return for Sunday’s practice.
The plan is to bring him along slowly, get him ready for the September 9 regular-season opener against Minnesota.
“It’s going to take a lot of discipline on our part and on his part,” Schwartz said. “There’s going to be some days he’s feeling fine but we’ve got to have the discipline to stay with the schedule.”
Delmas added: “The coaching staff and the whole organization have a good plan for me and I plan on sticking by that plan. I’m feeling great right now but you don’t want to overdo it. I want to be ready Week 1.”
And maybe even for Week 16 this time, too.
- The Lions put offensive guard Leroy Harris and receiver Devin Thomas on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, along with putting defensive end Ronnell Lewis on the Non-Football Illness list. All three can be activated at any time during training camp.
Harris is still recovering from knee surgery, but he’s making good progress and likely will practice soon.
Meanwhile, Thomas and Lewis didn’t respond well following Thursday’s conditioning test, even though they passed. Lewis needed IVs for dehydration.
Schwartz said the club wanted to give each player an extra day or two to see if they’ll be ready to compete.
- William Clay Ford Sr., the club’s owner and chairman, made a rare appearance at practice.
“It was a big deal to see him out here,” receiver Nate Burleson said. “It’s an honor to have him watch practice. I think he’s just as focused as we are and he has the same mindset we do, which is ‘let’s go out and win some games right now.’”
- First-round draft pick Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah missed some reps when a teammate stepped on his left foot during a drill. Ansah said after practice that he was fine.
- The Lions announced that they re-signed defensive tackle Andre Fluellen, who played in three games and made one start last season.