Ameer Abdullah has ditched the red jersey.
For the first time since training camp started back in late July, Abdullah was out at practice without his "no contact" red jersey on.
"It feels right," he said afterward. "It feels natural."
Saturday's practice was a walkthrough in shorts and no helmets, and head coach Jim Caldwell wouldn't confirm that Abdullah's contact restrictions would be lifted this week, but the second-year running does appear to be trending in the right direction after joining his offensive teammates in their blue jerseys for the first time since training camp began.
Abdullah said he'd even like to play in Saturday's third preseason game in Baltimore, if allowed.
"I missed a lot of valuable snaps, so to get in there and be right up to speed with the guys who've been playing for a couple weeks now … is what I need to do."
Abdullah's had a long offseason of recovery and restrictions after undergoing shoulder surgery in January. But he understands why the team has taken a cautious approach to his contact so far in camp.
"Just taking care of the players," he said. "They understand that it's a process. You don't like to just throw people into situations where they can hurt themselves again. I appreciate how they handled me through this process and now it's my turn to return the favor and to do what I'm supposed to do."
Abdullah lead the Lions' run game last season in both carries (143) and yards (597), and enters this year as the No. 1 back on the depth chart.
After some confidence and fumbling issues early on during his rookie campaign a year ago, Abdullah became a consistent performer the second half of the season and averaged 4.7 yards per game over the team's final eight contests.
He's sat out both of the first two preseason games in which the Lions have struggled to run the ball consistently. Detroit is averaging just 3.1 yards on the ground at the midway point of the preseason.
"I'm presented with the opportunity of possibly playing this week, so if I am given the opportunity, I want to make the most of it," Abdullah said.
"I'm going to leave it all out on the field. Get my first true shot at it since January. And try to make a mark on that game."
NOTE: Rookie center Graham Glasgow sat out Monday's practice in a walking boot. Tight end Eric Ebron and receiver Golden Tate also sat out.