After coming into the 2016 season as the expected starter for the Detroit Lions, Ameer Abdullah spent most of the season on the sidelines due to injury. As the offseason has progressed, Abdullah has made it clear that he feels quite a bit better and is very much ready to take over the mantle of "featured back." In fact, the former Nebraska football star has made it clear he not only appreciates the Lions not signing or drafting another running back but that he believes he would have been better than anyone the team could have brought in anyway. Earlier this week, Ameer showed another step in his recovery from that foot injury by not only showing up and practicing in the Lions' very first OTA session but he did so without wearing a red "no-contact" jersey.

Bigger first step for Abdullah than people realize

Those who think the former Nebraska football player making practice without a "no contact" jersey isn't a big deal, don't realize the entire history of Abdullah. He misssed most of the offseason last year as he recovered from a shoulder injury and when he was finally healthy enough to play after that, he managed to suffer that foot injury that kept him out of the 2016 season.

For the Lions to feel confident in his health to be telling his teammates Abdullah can take a hit is a very big deal. It might also be a bit foolhardy, considering Detroit really did do very little to reassure fans they will be able to fill the hole if the running back does go down again.

The team was 27th in the league in rushing when Abdullah wasn't in the lineup, that was a big reason why they went from NFC North leaders to almost out of the playoffs last year.

Undrafted free agent might be Ameer Abdullah insurance policy

The Lions did so little to try and make sure they are set at running back should their featured back get injured, the rest of the league was raising their eyebrows pretty high.

While Theo Riddick is still there, there's a reason why he hasn't been named the go-to player. Nor is he expected to really even split carries with the former Husker. The only addition at running back over the offseason was Tion Green, an undrafted free agent who will likely make the roster only because competition at the position is so thin.

That means Ameer Abdullah is going to have to stay healthy. So far so good after the first few hours of the first OTA of the offseason. Now we'll just wait and see whether he can survive the rigors of being "the man."

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