Lions RB Abdullah waits for green light to play

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Running back Ameer Abdullah pulls in a reception on the run during drills.

Allen Park – Lions running back Ameer Abdullah has never entered a season without getting some sort of preseason action in his career.

And he doesn’t hope to start now.

Following his offseason shoulder surgery, the Lions have expressed caution with Abdullah throughout the first four weeks of training camp. He wore a red no-contact jersey at practice and spent the Lions’ first two exhibitions watching from the sidelines in street clothes.

But after trading in the red numberless top for his blue No. 21 jersey last Saturday, Abdullah is hoping to rip the caution tape off and get some live game reps in one of the final two exhibitions.

"Everything is about repetition in life. You can't expect to do well on test if you haven't studied,” Abdullah said. “I'll be tested against Indianapolis (in Week 1), so I hope I get to play (in the preseason). But if I don't have the opportunity, I'm going to trust what the coaches have in store for me and just do my best when my time comes."

Lions coach Jim Caldwell was terse whether that time will come Saturday in Baltimore or Sept. 1 in the exhibition finale versus Buffalo.

“We’ll see,” Caldwell said. “We’ll see how he goes through practice, got a couple days left and we’ll see where he is.”

The Lions anemic ground game has struggled to generate much offense in the first two exhibitions, with the running backs rushing for 125 total yards and averaging 2.8 yards-per-carry.

Abdullah led the Lions with 597 rushing yards and averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry last year.

"Anytime I'm on the field I feel I can help in some way. Collectively, we have to just do better,” Abdullah said. “We have to be more detail-oriented. It takes a day-in and day-out effort. Some guys bring it some days and some days we don't, me included. Collectively, we have to be more consistent to improve the run game."

Abdullah is expected to be ready for the regular-season opener against the Colts on Sept. 11. And while the second-year back hasn’t been lobbying to play, he just hopes to take the field sooner rather than later.

"It's physically tiring. I can't be a coach,” Abdullah said. “My lower back gets really tight standing on the sidelines. Hopefully I can play this week, so I can get sore playing football and not from standing around."