Allen Park – Ameer Abdullah didn’t participate in mandatory minicamp last season. The Detroit Lions running back was still recovering from an offseason shoulder surgery, one that would prevent him from participating in contact portions of practice deep into August.
Although he’s still battling back from another ailment this year, a lisfranc injury suffered in Week 2 of the 2016 season, Abdullah has shown no limitations as he continues to work as the starting running back with the first-team offense.
It’s this early-offseason practice time Abdullah believes is laying the groundwork for an improved rushing attack in 2017.
“Last year, this time, I wasn’t involved, physically,” Abdullah said. “I was doing walk-throughs and stuff, but wasn’t able to get out there and run with the guys, get more acclimated with the O-line. That’s what’s really important – understanding my guys up front. That’s what makes a good running game, us knowing each other. Having that opportunity this year is making things a lot easier for me.”
Despite coming out of bubble wrap late in the offseason program last year, Abdullah got off to a strong start before the injury, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Without him, the Lions went on to finish 30th in the NFL in rushing yards and 27th in yards per carry.
Abdullah said he’s been pleased with his recovery and feels he’s actually further ahead than he anticipated being at this point. He also acknowledged there have been some mental hurdles to overcome.
“A little bit, sometimes, but once I get out there and get in a combative situation, the good thing is I kind of forget about it and just play,” he said.