The rave reviews continue to come in for LeGarrette Blount, the Detroit Lions’ newest running back. But the team’s brass, namely general manager Bob Quinn, isn’t closing the door on continued contributions from last year’s starter, Ameer Abdullah.
My first year, Ameer had the injury, so he really didn’t do much, Quinn said. Last year he was still kind of working through it, got back and we felt he was 100 percent. You can ask Ameer, he didn’t have a good enough year in terms of anyone’s expectations, his own, or mine or the team. I think I’ve got big hopes for him this season, that he comes back, and has a great offseason and is ready to roll.
A second-round pick in 2015 by the team’s previous front office, Abdullah is one of 10 Martin Mayhew draft selections remaining on the roster. The 5-foot-9, 203-pound ball carrier showed early signs of a breakout in 2016, Quinn’s first season at the helm, popping off for 101 yards on his first 18 carries before suffering a season-ending foot injury in the first half of the second game.
Lions coach Matt Patricia, who spent parts of four seasons with Blount in New England, knows exactly the kind of guy the Lions are getting in Blount. Despite being on opposite sides of the ball, the two cultivated a strong relationship off the field, and that bond helped lure the player to Detroit this offseason.
Patricia said Blount will bring culture, personality and toughness to the Lions.
He’s just a great person to be around, Patricia said. From that standpoint, it’s a long hard season, it’s a grind, so it’s always good to have that guy that can walk in the building and make everybody pick back up for a second or two before you get back to work. He’s great about all that stuff.
On the field, all the things he brings kind of speak for themselves. He’s a guy that’s extremely hard to tackle. He’s a large man coming downhill, very fast, but he also has the ability to get outside and get to the edge. Now, if you can get him in those situations, it’s a whole different level of problem.
The Lions could have used Blount’s skill set the past two years, when he was a free agent each offseason. Quinn, who was also intimately familiar with Blount having worked in New England front office when the back was initially acquired in a trade, said the Lions made an effort to sign him last offseason, but implied a lack of mutual interest.