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Camp Spotlight: Running back Ameer Abdullah


Position: Running back

Ht/Wt: 5-9, 203

College: Nebraska

Experience: 3rd season

Outlook: After missing nearly all of last season with a foot injury, Abdullah is highly motivated to prove he can be a premier running back in this league.

The Lions are going to give him every chance to prove it as he begins training camp as the No. 1 running back on the roster.

Abdullah was averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and the Lions had rushed for at least 100 yards as a team in both the games he played in last season. After he went down, the run game was never the same.

The Lions use a running-back-by-committee approach to their run game, but Abdullah is still expected to receive somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-plus carries as Detroit's lead back.

Abdullah runs harder than his 5-9 frame might indicate, and he's one of the shiftier backs in the league. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield, which should make him one of Detroit's featured weapons in 2017.

Practice report: As expected, Abdullah was the lead back when the offense got together as a full unit for the first time in Sunday's practice. He also took first-team reps in passing and running team drills against the defense later on.

View photos of Ameer Abdullah during the first practice of 2017 Detroit Lions training camp.

Abdullah's first run in the drill showed off his terrific vision and quickness. He cut outside to the right when an inside hole was plugged with defenders. He got outside the right tackle, and then put his foot in the ground and put a terrific inside cut on Tahir Whitehead that had the linebacker grabbing for air.

One play later, Abdullah was unable to pull in a high throw in the flat from quarterback Matthew Stafford, who no-doubt wanted that throw back.

Abdullah has ditched the red no-contact jersey he began last year's training camp with, and has no restrictions to start camp this season. He looked good in the first day of practice, and expectations are high for the third-year back.

Quotable: "Ameer is a guy, who I know he went through some injuries last year, but I'm really excited about him," veteran right guard T.J. Lang said after Sunday's first practice.

"He is a guy that shows a lot of explosiveness. His vision is awesome. It's only the first day, you don't want to get too excited about it, but I feel really good about a lot of the weapons we've got on offense."

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