Ameer Abdullah's 2016 season lasted just a game and a half before a foot injury ended it.
In those six quarters to begin this season, Abdullah performed well, and the Lions run game came alive. He looked like a back that could spark a long dormant Detroit rushing attack.
Speaking for the first time since he suffered the injury, Abdullah said this week he still believes he will be a premier running back in the NFL.
"Coming into this league, I had no other plans but to be a premier NFL back in this league, and I know I will be," he said. "It just takes patience, it takes prayer, it takes diligence, and coming from these injuries the last year or so, it's just that much more important to me."
Abdullah ran for 101 yards on 18 carries and caught five passes for 57 yards before injuring his foot in a Week 2 loss to the Tennessee Titans. It was the second major injuring requiring surgery in the calendar year. He suffered a shoulder injury late in 2015 that required offseason surgery.
General manager Bob Quinn said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio last week that the Lions will "try to get better at the running back position" this offseason, but Abdullah hopes he's given an opportunity to prove he can be this team's lead back moving forward.
"I sure hope so, but I definitely understand the business side of it," Abdullah said. "They have to do things to make sure they're in the best position for them. Just like I have to do things to make sure I'm in the best position for myself. Whatever happens, happens. But I sure hope so."
Detroit finished 30th in the NFL in rushing this year (81.9 yards per game) and failed to have a single runner gain at least 100 yards in a contest for the third straight year.
Abdullah says he's on track in his recovery, and hopes to be 100 percent by the time the offseason training program begins in April.
"I was humbled, really (by the injury)," Abdullah said. "Like I said, I've never missed a game before, up until this year, so learned that you got to appreciate what I do have a lot more than I was.
"I always thought I was a very thoughtful person until everything was taken away from me, in a sense. When things were taken away, it forces you to think more and to understand that this is a blessing that I've been given this opportunity. So just heading into the future, everything just means a lot more."