Ameer Abdullah on Lions demotion: I'll 'grow from' it


Detroit's forever-maligned running game has undergone a face lift in recent weeks, all to the detriment of Ameer Abdullah.

The Lions have reshuffled the deck at running back since Thanksgiving, handing a greater share of the carries to Theo Riddick and Tion Green instead of Abdullah. After recording at least 10 carries in his 10 prior games this season, Abdullah settled for six for 14 yards and one for eight against Minnesota on Turkey Day and Chicago in Week 15, respectively.

Abdullah was honest Monday about how his apparent demotion made him feel, telling the Detroit Free Press, "It's definitely frustrating. It's definitely something that I just want to take in and do my best to grow from it. That's it."

Riddick filled in for Abdullah in Weeks 13 and 14 while Abdullah was dealing with a neck injury and has had more of an impact in both the running and passing game. Throughout the past three weeks, Riddick had 27 carries for 99 yards (3.7 yards per carry), 14 catches for 117 yards and three total touchdowns. On the season, Abdullah has 151 carries for 513 yards (3.4 YPC), 23 receptions for 146 yards and four total touchdowns.

In addition to Riddick seeing more time, the rookie back Green has jumped into the rotation, rushing the ball 26 times for 101 yards and a score over the last three weeks. Green led Detroit in carries (10) during last week's win.

Abdullah doesn't understand why he's getting the cold shoulder for the Jims -- coach Caldwell and coordinator Cooter.

"Wouldn't know why I would be," he said. "There's no specific thing that would put me there."

Detroit took Abdullah in the second round of the 2015 draft with hopes that, with his speed and balance, Abdullah could be the next great Lions back, one to finally take up the mantle from Barry Sanders. But instead, Abdullah, in his three years in Detroit, has yet to produce a 100-yard rushing game. No Lions back has since recently retired tailback Reggie Bush broke the century mark in 2012.

With its playoff dreams hanging in the balance, Detroit is looking for a spark from its league-worst running back group. Abdullah is just an old flame.