Ameer Abdullah learned from his rookie mistakes

The first time Ameer Abdullah took a handoff in the NFL, he left one of the best safeties in the NFL, Eric Weddle, grasping for air, while darting 24 yards for a touchdown.

He had to be thinking this whole NFL thing was no problem, right?


The Lions rookie running back learned rather quickly the adjustment from the college game to the pros is a big one. It's a lesson Abdullah admitted took him a bit too long to learn last season in a recent interview with Alex Marvez and Bill Polian on Sirius NFL Radio.

"I feel like I showed some flashes last year, but in this league you can't show flashes," Abdullah said. "You have to be consistent. That definitely had a lot to do with growing pains.

"It also had a lot to do with me being immature as a player coming straight from college and not understanding what kind of preparation and mental focus it took for such a long amount of time."

Abdullah rushed for just 225 yards on 63 carries the first eight games of the 2015 season and began to lose reps when fumbling became an issue early on.

He said he beat himself up too much about the fumbling issues, instead of shaking them off and getting back to work.

"I feel like I really was a weapon for the team last year, but sometimes it wasn't on display because of being down in the dumps, or whatever, because of something that happened before and not being ready to play in that moment," he said.

Abdullah fumbled five times and lost two of them last season.

"I had a few rookie mistakes the first year. One of them was too many fumbles, too many fumbles on the ground," he said. "But even with that happening, you have to stay in it.

"You have to stay in the game. Sometimes those things happen and I beat myself up a little bit too long and that would keep me on the sideline and ultimately that would hurt the team.

Film study, along with the realization that everything is faster in this league and defenders will attack the ball, helped clear up the fumbling issues the second half of the season.

"In the NFL you're never free," Abdullah said with a laugh when Polian asked him what he learned from the fumbling issues.

A change in offense midseason, and him "trusting" his teammates more, led to more consistency in the run for both Detroit and Abdullah the second half of the season.

Abdullah averaged 4.65 yards per carry over the second half of the season as the Lions saw their per game rushing average increase by 28 yards per game over the last eight games.

He called his rookie season a bit of a "culture shock" and now heading into his second year he has a better understanding and grasp of what to expect heading into OTAs, minicamp and training camp.

"The running game definitely needs to improve," he said of a Lions rushing attack that finished last in the NFL in rushing a season ago.

"That's something later in the season we gradually got better with it. Hopefully, we can take off and keep excelling from where we left off last year. I think that's really important."

As for what Abdullah thinks he can do to help make that happen, it really comes down to being more consistent.

"I know I have a lot to give to this team and a lot to give to this league," he said. "I know I can be a good back, but it starts with those little things I mentioned earlier."

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