ALLEN PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - Believe it or not, football season is right around the corner and the Detroit Lions began their training camp on Monday. Tonight, we'll take an in-depth look at the team.
7 Action News is your home for all things Lions, leading the way with training camp coverage. Our team will be all over Allen Park this week, talking with the players and coaches for their inside perspective on the 2013 season.
Our team will then break it all down for you on our Lions Training Camp Special, TONIGHT at 7:00 pm. Our experts will bring you all of the Xs and Os as the Lions start the journey to the Super Bowl.
The rookies report first, arriving to camp three days before veterans do.
All eyes will be on the Lions' first two picks in the 2013 NFL draft: defensive end Ezekiel Ansah out of BYU and cornerback Darius Slay of Mississippi State.
The hope for Ansah is that he can fill a starting role at defensive end after an offseason that saw the release of Kyle Vanden Bosch and the departure of Cliff Avril.
Avril signed with the Seattle Seahawks March 13. Vanden Bosch has yet to sign with another team.
Ansah is believed to need some time to develop, but he's already drawn comparisons to the New York Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul.
The Lions' secondary has been hampered by injuries in recent years and the organization hasn't had a lockdown corner since Dre Bly.
But the Lions feel a sense of promise with recent draft picks, the resigning of Chris Houston, and their 2013 second round pick, Slay, who ran the fastest 40-yard dash of all cornerbacks at the 2013 NFL Combine (4.36).
But the speedy defensive back did tear the meniscus in his right knee before the draft.
The Lions feel the knee shouldn't be an issue, and they expect Slay to compete for a starting spot with Ron Bartell and three 2012 draft picks.
Thursday, July 25, the veterans will make their presence known and report to the Allen Park training facility.
A 2012 offseason filled with off-the-field issues by some of the returning team members seemed to set the tone for the Lions throughout the entire 2012 season.
The Lions finished the season at a measly 4-12.
This offseason's been drastically different, though.
Rather than making headlines for all the wrong reasons, Lions' management started the offseason on the right foot, making a splash in free agency with the signing of running back Reggie Bush.
With former running back Jahvid Best hampered by a concussion for the entire 2012 season, the Lions needed to add the lightning to the thunder in their backfield.
Bush provides that, and he has high expectations coming into the season.
"We have the guys here to be able to win a Super Bowl," he said in early June.
But the organization didn't just stop with Bush.
On July 10, the Lions gave franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford a three-year $53 million extension. The deal keeps the four-year veteran under contract through 2017.
Returners, rookies, and even fans can agree, this is going to be one of the most exciting starts to training camp for the Lions in recent memory.
Training camp will be open to the public eight different days starting on Monday, July 29. Check out the schedule here .