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Mikel Leshoure starts in season debut for Detroit Lions

Mikel Leshoure made his regular-season debut for the Detroit Lions in Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.

The running back ran for a 3-yard gain on his first carry.

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Leshoure missed all of his rookie season with a torn Achilles tendon. He was suspended the first two games of 2012 after being arrested for marijuana possession twice during this past offseason.

The Lions desperately need some semblance of a run game to take pressure off Matthew Stafford and the aerial attack. Detroit ranks No. 25 in the NFL with 82.5 rushing yards per game.

The Lions hoped Jahvid Best and Leshoure would be a young powerful and fast combination in the backfield, but they've both been sidelined with injuries. Best still is out from another concussion sustained in 2011.

Leshoure was drafted in the second round, No. 57 overall, in 2011.

Kevin Smith carried the load in the first two games of the season, amassing 115 yards and one touchdown. Leshoure and Smith likely will split carries against the Titans as the Lions break in the younger player. The team loves Smith's attitude and effort, but Leshoure is the future and eventually will emerge with the larger share.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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