ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Ndamukong Suh sounded confident he wouldn't be a holdout after the Detroit Lions drafted him No. 2 overall in April. When the topic was raised again last month, he insisted that reporting to training camp on time wouldn't be an issue.
Suh, though, wasn't on the field Saturday with the rest of the Lions.
His agents, Eugene Parker and Roosevelt Barnes, were still working on reaching a contract agreement to get the dynamic defensive tackle from Nebraska in camp.
"I just got off the phone with those guys a minute ago," Lions president Tom Lewand said soon after practice started. "We had an extended conversation and I'm sure we'll have another one shortly. Both sides are focused on getting this done as quickly as possible."
"The more reference points we have the more helpful it becomes, but at the same time, every deal is unique," Lewand said. "The only thing we can do is continue to work hard at getting a fair deal done for Ndamukong Suh and for our club."
Detroit drafted Suh hoping he could bolster a defense that has ranked among the league's all-time worst in points allowed the past two seasons. The Lions won just two games last year after becoming the first team in league history to go 0-16.
"Our goal is to stop talking about contracts and to start talking about football," Lewand said.
In June, Suh said he wasn't worried about the possible conflict of wanting to report on time for training camp and getting his market value.
"You don't look at bad situations," Suh said during minicamp. "You look for the best."
Detroit determined Suh was the best player available to help the franchise attempt a turnaround, choosing him instead of Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who was drafted No. 3 by Tampa Bay.
Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said missing time will not hurt Suh's development -- unless his holdout drags on.
"A long-term, extended holdout would definitely set him back," Schwartz said. "But I know Ndamukong is in great shape and he's chomping at the bit to be here."
Defensive end Jason Hunter said that even though Suh is impressive physically, he can't push himself quite like teammates can in an NFL practice.
"Working out on your own versus what we just did is totally different," said Hunter, who was drenched in sweat after a 2-hour practice. "I'm sure once he gets back, the coaches will get him back up to speed."
The Lions agreed to a five-year deal on the eve of the first practice with their other first-round pick, Jahvid Best, and he was on the field with fellow running back Kevin Smith, making a relatively surprising appearance after having major surgery on his left knee.
Safety Louis Delmas, tight end Brandon Pettigrew, defensive end Jared DeVries, tight end Will Heller, safety Ko Simpson and cornerback Jack Williams, meanwhile, were put on the physically unable to perform list.
"I don't think any of them will be long-term guys," Schwartz said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.