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Ross assuming that Sanders' silence means he'll play

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit Lions coach Bobby Ross' self-imposed deadline on Barry Sanders passed uneventfully.

Ross wanted the star running back to let him know by Tuesday whether he plans to play for the team this season.Having received no direct communication to the contrary, Ross is assuming that the perennial All-Pro back will report to training camp July 29 to begin his 11th season with the Lions.

"I left a message with Barry, and the message I left with him was that if I did not hear from him by this date, I would assume retirement was not a consideration and he would be in camp," Ross told the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News for stories Wednesday.

"I have not heard from him so, based on that assumption, I'm assuming everything's fine (and) he's going to be in camp."

Sanders has been a no-show in the team's three-week, voluntary workouts.

Sanders' father, William Sanders, said last month that his son is frustrated with the Lions and had considered retiring -- statements that have added urgency to a talk between the running back and Ross.

Sanders has been with the Lions for all of his 10 NFL seasons and needs just 1,458 yards to top the NFL career rushing record of 16,726 held by retired Chicago Bears star Walter Payton.

"But you know, it's something that's been pretty prevalent throughout the time" Sanders has played with the Lions, Ross said.