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Abdullah feels like he's ahead of schedule

Ameer Abdullah has been a full participant from the start of Detroit's offseason training program back in April. He's even suprised himself a bit with the progress he's made after missing most of last season with a foot injury.

"Maybe even a little bit ahead of schedule," Abdullah said of his health after Tuesday's minicamp practice. "A little further than what I thought I would be, actually. That's good. I'm just going to keep this same pace that I've been on."

Abdullah's looked good this offseason, and it's evident Detroit's offense is much more versatile and explosive with him in it.

Abdullah was averaging 5.6 yards per carry last season before suffering a foot injury Week 2 against Tennessee that cost him the rest of his season. He also caught five passes for 57 yards in a little over a game and a half.

He's certainly happy to be back after it this offseason. Last year around this time he was only taking part in walkthroughs while he was eased back into action after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.

Being ahead of schedule in his return from his most recent setback has afforded him more of an opportunity to prepare himself for the upcoming season.

"Getting more acclimated with the o-line, that's really important," Abdullah said. "Understanding the 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."

It's shown in the three open OTA practices, and in the first of three minicamp practices starting Tuesday. Abdullah showed off terrific vision, good burst and his patented shiftiness, all of the same things he was displaying early last season when he got off to such a great start.

It's been nine long months since Abdullah last played in a game, and he currently looks like a player with fresh legs who is highly motivated.

"It teaches you a lot," Abdullah said of having the game taken away from him last year. "I feel like I've grown up a lot in a year as far as a player. My mindset. Understanding that every single play matters and understanding that sometimes you have to do a little bit more."

Abdullah says he's in a good spot right now, and is excited to see how he progresses through training camp and into the regular season.

He was asked Tuesday what kind of impact he could have on Detroit's run game if he was able to stay healthy all 16 games in 2017.

"If all of us (running backs) stay healthy," he said. "We'll be fine."

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