NFL locals roundup: Alex Smith discusses contract extension talks; increased role for Ezekiel Ansah
Michael Conroy, AP
According to Kansas City Star’s Randy Covitz, Smith’s agent has been negotiating an extension with the Chiefs. However, Smith told Covitz he isn’t concerned about landing a long-term deal.
“I’ve played long enough, going into year 10 now, it’s all year-to-year in my mind anyway at this point,” Smith told Covitz. “You’ve got to continually prove yourself. I don’t think it changes anything as far as my mindset or approach to the game.”
Smith is entering the final year of his contract with Kansas City. He’s slated to make $7.5 million in the 2014 season.
More responsibility for Ansah
It appears former BYU standout Ezekiel Ansah will be taking on a bigger role with the Detroit Lions defense this season.
After a rookie season in which he had 32 tackles and led all first-year defenders with eight sacks, the Detroit defensive end had offseason surgery to repair a shoulder injury. Now the Lions, who began a voluntary minicamp Tuesday, have a new defensive coördinator in Teryl Austin, and several news outlets are reporting that Austin has big plans for Ansah.
NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal named Ansah one of nine NFL defenders who should expect a bigger role with their respective teams in 2014. Rosenthal said Ansah played less on rushing downs as a rookie, but that should change.
"Ansah will now be asked to play every down, and the Lions need him to be a difference-maker," Rosenthal wrote.
Ansah also forced two fumbles and defended a pass last season, and Austin told season-ticket holders at a recent town meeting that the former Cougar is "physically gifted," according to Lions Insider senior writer Tim Twentyman.
“What you saw towards the end of the year was a physically gifted man playing football," Austin said. “Now, if we can continue to improve the base and fundamentals and the techniques, all of the sudden you’re going to see that physically gifted man really become a good player. We’re excited.”
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