Barry good? Lions’ Abdullah earns Bowles’ praise

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
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Jets coach Todd Bowles offered some of the highest praise for Lions rookie running back Ameer Abdullah after Thursday night’s exhibition.

Though he quickly couched it by saying Abdullah isn’t Barry Sanders, Bowles still invoked the name of the legendary back after Abdullah shined in a 23-3 exhibition victory at Ford Field.

“He looked like he did in college,” Bowles said. “He’s quick as a cat. He’s about as quick as Barry Sanders. I’m not saying he is Barry, but he’s a good running back.”

Abdullah stole the show Thursday at Ford Field, finishing with seven carries for 67 yards in just 15 offensive snaps. Most of Abdullah’s production came on his third run, which was the first play of the Lions’ second drive. After making Jets linebacker Demario Davis look foolish with a cutback, Abdullah ran up the right hash for the big gain.

Abdullah also had a solid 4-yard run in which he used a similar cutback to lose safety Calvin Pryor on his second carry. After the game, Abdullah said it’s his job to make the first guy miss, and he showed he can do so against NFL players, even though it was just an exhibition.

Obviously, Abdullah would have to be one of the top running backs in the league multiple years in a row to earn any sort of true comparison to the Hall-of-Famer Sanders, but his nifty performance Thursday was a good start as he led a 193-yard rushing performance by the Lions.

“We have to go take our shot, and we have to attack the inside out,” Bowles said of the Jets run defense. “And (Abdullah) made us miss today.”

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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