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Published: Tuesday, 5/17/2011

Stafford, Lions begin voluntary workouts

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford, one of about 30 Detroit players that showed up to practice voluntarily Monday at Detroit Country Day School during the lockout, says his repaired shoulder in healthy after surgery in January. Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford, one of about 30 Detroit players that showed up to practice voluntarily Monday at Detroit Country Day School during the lockout, says his repaired shoulder in healthy after surgery in January.
DETROIT NEWS Enlarge

BEVERLY HILLS, Mich. — Matthew Stafford started with some short tosses, then began throwing longer routes of about 20 to 30 yards — both to the sideline and over the middle.

The Detroit quarterback looked sharp and healthy when the Lions met up for an informal workout Monday. Stafford had surgery on his right shoulder in January, but he said he’s feeling much better, and he appeared loose and confident with his passing motion.

“I’ve felt pretty good for a while now, and it just keeps getting better,” Stafford said. “It’s always a little bit scary getting surgery. It healed up really well.”

About 30 Detroit players showed up for the workout. NFL players aren’t allowed to use team facilities because of the lockout, so the Lions did conditioning work and a few drills in an indoor football facility at Detroit Country Day School.

The workouts are expected to continue for three more days.

“I think we’re going to get more and more guys as the week goes along,” defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. “It’s difficult to gauge what benefit we get from this, but it’s good to see that guys are willing to come in, put the team first and really just be accountable to each other.”

Stafford played in just three games last season because of problems with his throwing shoulder. The Lions managed to win their last four games without him to finish 6-10.

The former No. 1 overall draft pick was upbeat Monday.

“It’s good to be back out doing it again,” Stafford said. “There’s going to be workouts, and I’m going to be throwing, too, for sure. I’m not coming all the way up here and not throwing.”

Although the dispute between owners and players is dragging on, center Dominic Raiola is aware it could end at any time, and players will have to be ready to return if it does.

“I look at ESPN every day and see what happens,” Raiola said. “If nothing happens, we go another day without work. It’s different. We’ll let them handle what they need to handle.”

The Lions finally appear to have a bright future after their strong performance at the end of last season. Now, the lockout is threatening the start of next season, but Raiola is trying to remain optimistic.

“I think it’s exciting how we finished, it’s exciting to get Matt back healthy,” he said. “You add everything up, it’s exciting.”

Wide receiver Titus Young, Detroit’s second-round pick out of Boise State, has wasted no time getting to know his new teammates.

“Getting with your quarterback and making sure that’s your top priority, I feel like that’s just respecting the football gods and respecting the people that came before you,” Young said. “It’s very humbling to be out here.”

The Lions worked out for about 75 minutes Monday.

“Today was kind of a feeling out process,” Vanden Bosch said. “Just wanted to see where guys were at, but guys seemed to be in good shape. ... I didn’t really know what to expect coming in, but I couldn’t really be happier about how things went today.”



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