<
>

Lions RB Ameer Abdullah 'confident I'll be where I need to be' for season opener

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Ameer Abdullah was on the field Friday for the first practice of Detroit Lions training camp. Something was different for the running back, though.

Unlike every other player out there, Abdullah did not have a number on his uniform. Also, he was the only non-quarterback in a red "Don’t touch me" jersey, signaling he was not to be hit.

Abdullah has been cleared to practice, but the Lions are trying to take it easy with the second-year player, who underwent shoulder surgery in January.

“Right now it’s a day-by-day process so I’m taking it day-by-day at the discretion of the coaches and everything,” Abdullah told ESPN.com. “They care for my best interests right now and they know where they want me to be for Game 1 and I’m confident at this point I’ll be where I need to be for Game 1.”

Abdullah sat out spring workouts following the procedure to repair a torn labrum suffered in December. He expected to be cleared by the start of training camp, as did Lions general manager Bob Quinn. And Abdullah has been cleared -- he took carries and worked out in both positional and team drills Friday -- but the Lions are still being careful with him.

He is expected to be Detroit’s starting running back this fall after rushing for 597 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie last season.

He said he wasn’t sure how much work he would receive in the preseason leading up to the Sept. 11 opener in Indianapolis, deferring the question to Quinn and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell. Caldwell was noncommittal on using Abdullah in the preseason, and said he wasn’t too concerned about whether Abdullah took any contact before real games began.

“We’ll see [how much he plays],” Caldwell said. “The most important thing is him getting healthy and obviously he’s been cleared.

“It’s just kind of a progression he’s going through.”