By: Will Burchfield
Was Ameer Abdullah inactive for Sunday’s game versus the Buccs because of an injury or a lack of production?
“We don’t go into details about everything,” Jim Caldwell said after the game, “but obviously he’s still nursing an injury.”
Asked on Monday if Abdullah’s usage is based on skill or health, Caldwell said, “Ameer is health issues.”
But Abdullah suggested otherwise on Tuesday. Asked directly if he felt like he could have played versus the Buccs, Abdullah said, “Yeah.”
Abdullah missed the Lions’ Week 13 game versus the Ravens with a neck injury and was a limited participant in practice last week. On Sunday, the Lions decided to go with Theo Riddick, Tion Green and Zach Zenner at running back.
“That’s the coach’s call,” Abdullah said. “It’s never in my hands, and if the coaches feel like it’s in the best direction then maybe they know something I don’t. I’m always going to trust that, I’m always going to fall behind the leader of this team. Whatever he thinks the direction is that week, I’m for it.”
Throughout this season, Caldwell has publicly acknowledged Abdullah is the Lions’ No. 1 back. But asked on Sunday if that’s still the case, Caldwell said, “We don’t talk about number ones, number twos. That’s your guys’ business. We have a three-man rotation. With the three guys that we have up, all three guys play.”
Does Abdullah feel like the Lions are moving away from him?
“No, not necessarily. They feel like in some areas they can gain more with other people, and in some areas they feel like I’m best at doing certain things,” he said.
“They know what I do well and I know what I do well. It’s never really anything that’s voiced,” he added. “It’s always just, when you’re out there just show it.”
Abdullah ranks 31st in the NFL with 505 rushing yards on a career low 3.4 yards per carry. The Lions’ run game is once again one of the worst in the league. The offensive line deserves a heavy share of the blame, but Abdullah knows it eventually comes back to him.
“It’s always going to fall on me, and rightfully so. Always gotta be productive. The one good thing is, we got three more games and there’s a lot to gain in these three games with everything still out there for us to get, so it’s important for me to be at my best,” Abdullah said.
Caldwell said it’s possible Abdullah will be part of the Lions’ running back package on Sunday. Abdullah himself expects to play.
“Yeah, I feel good,” he said. “We’re going to proceed how Coach Caldwell wants things to be proceeded with and I’m going to do my best to be there.”
It’s a foreign situation for Abdullah. He said he’s never been healthy enough to play and not been called upon, going all the way back to high school. But his confidence won’t waver.
“My confidence is always high. I got great siblings always telling me I’m the best at this, I’m the best at that, so it’s never low,” he said with a smile.
Abdullah knows he’s had a poor season so far. He’ll be the first to admit his production isn’t where it should be. But there’s still time.
“I definitely want to be in there,” he said. “I want to finish the season strong.”