Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell remains optimistic that the Lions can keep Ndamukong Suh long term, despite the fact the team could not reach an agreement with the All-Pro defensive tackle on a contract extension before the start of training camp.
"Absolutely," Caldwell said Sunday. "I'm always optimistic ... and I think without question (Lions management and Suh's agent) are working at it. And I think something will be done at the appropriate time."
The Lions begin workouts Monday, and veterans reported Sunday.
Suh can opt out of his rookie contract at the end of the season, and unless the Lions spend nearly $26.9 million to use the franchise tag, he would become an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
Linebacker Stephen Tulloch said Suh creates havoc, demands double teams and is a cornerstone player for the franchise. The second overall pick in 2010, Suh is one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL and a game-changing player, and if he reached the open market, he would have many suitors around the league.
"Suh's a businessman, as we all know, and when things get done, they get done," Tulloch said.
Tulloch and center Dominic Raiola agreed that Suh's situation wouldn't be a distraction for the team because of the dedication he showed on the field during his first four seasons.
"I think the media worries about it more than we do," Tulloch said. "I know when 90 (Suh) gets here, he's going to work. That's the one guy, since I've been in the league, that I never have to worry about when it comes to work. All the outside stuff that goes on, we don't have to pay attention to that."
Lions players and coaches may not worry about the contract negotiations, but until a new deal is done or negotiations come to a halt, Suh and his future will remain a hot topic because of what the two-time All-Pro means to the franchise.
"Obviously, he's dominant," Tulloch said. "He makes my job easier, him and (Nick) Fairley inside. As long as I'm here, I'd like to have him here, but he's a heck of a player and he's very dominant."
The best way to convince Suh to stay is by winning this year, Raiola said.
"If we win, people are going to want to stay here and play here," Raiola said. "I'm not saying that's what he wants, but I'm saying if you win, it makes a place desirable, and especially with coach Caldwell."
Caldwell said he doesn't not know when defensive end Ziggy Ansah will return from a shoulder injury that put him on the physically unable to perform list at the start of camp.
"It's whenever the Lord says that he's healthy and healed," Caldwell said. "And the medical staff will take a look at it after the Lord's decree, and then we'll see what goes on after that."
Ansah, the fifth overall pick in 2013, underwent surgery on the shoulder in February and did not participate in the Lions' offseason program.
Caldwell said he doesn't know how much catching up Ansah will need to do in terms of learning the new scheme when he returns.
"One of the things I learned early on in coaching is I coach who shows up, and I instruct our staff to do the same thing," Caldwell said. "I cannot worry about how quickly the Lord allows someone to heal. I've got to do our business, and at that point in time when he gets healthy and ready to go, he'll be ready."
Wide receivers Golden Tate and TJ Jones are both on PUP with shoulder injuries, but both expect to be healthy in short order.
First-round tight end Eric Ebron has high expectations for himself and the Lions, but his goal this year is geared toward the fans.
"My goal is just to help us succeed," he said last week when Lions rookies reported for training camp. "Everybody has their own individual goal, but my personal goal is really to not let Michigan down."
The Lions signed punter Drew Butler and waived rookie safety Gabe Lynn. Butler spent time with the Chicago Bears this offseason and played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012. He likely will be around to prevent Lions starter Sam Martin from having too many reps.