ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions didn’t select a running back this weekend in the annual NFL draft, and after it was over, general manager Bob Quinn said third-year pro Ameer Abdullah will be the team’s starting running back this fall.
Abdullah missed all but one-and-a-half games in 2016 with a foot injury that required surgery. He won the starting job last season and gained 101 yards on 18 carries before hurting his foot against Tennessee.
“He is,” Quinn said, when asked directly if Abdullah was his starter.
Abdullah was fully cleared to return this past winter and believes he still has the capability to be a premier running back in the league, something he said at the end of the season. Quinn called Abdullah’s injury “a fluke thing,” and said he thinks Theo Riddick will be ready to go as well.
The Lions have five running backs on the roster, not including fullback Michael Burton. Abdullah will be the team’s starter and Riddick the team’s change-of-pace back. Zach Zenner, Dwayne Washington and Mike James will compete for depth spots.
Zenner had 99 carries for 368 yards last season and Washington had 90 carries for 265 yards. James was primarily on the practice squad.
“I feel pretty good about the position,” Quinn said. “There were a couple running backs we looked at in the middle part of the draft but just no one we felt was going to come in and really unseat any of the guys that we have on our roster.
“So we feel good about that spot.”