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Ameer Abdullah Antsy To Return

By: Will Burchfield

From the moment Ameer Abdullah wakes up to the moment he falls asleep, the second-year running back envisions himself on the football field.

"I go to sleep thinking about it. Since I was little this is all I wanted to," he said. "So I'm always visualizing making good plays."

But lately he hasn't been able to bring that vision to life.

Abdullah underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason and the Lions have been cautious with his comeback. He was in a red non-contact jersey through the first two weeks of preseason - ultimately shedding that designation on Saturday - and hasn't appeared in a game since the 2015 season.

That's putting the 23-year-old's patience to the test, who simply isn't cut out to watch from the sideline.

"It's physically tiring, man, I can't be a coach. My lower back gets really tight standing on the sideline a lot, so hopefully I can play this week so I can get sore playing football and not from standing around," he said.

The Lions still haven't indicated whether or not Abdullah will suit up on Saturday against the Ravens, taking the now-typical "We'll see" stance regarding his return. And though Abdullah is growing increasingly frustrated with his lack of live action – "it bothers me a lot," he said – he explained he's not in a position to contest the team's decision.

"I sit back, man, I'm not a veteran really. I'm only approaching my second year so whatever I say doesn't matter at this point," he said. "I don't carry much weight in what I say."

The Lions are counting on Abdullah to be their lead running back, coming off a rookie season in which he led the team in rushing. Abdullah said he's never entered a season without any live reps under his belt, so he's eager to get his feet wet before Week 1 against the Colts.

"Everything's about repetition in life. You can't expect to do well on a test if you haven't studied. I'll be tested against Indianapolis so I hope I can get to play [in the preseason] but if I don't have the opportunity I'm gonna trust what the coaches have in store for me and just do my best when my time comes," he said.

Jim Caldwell, for what it's worth, said it's especially important for young players to get as many reps as possible the preseason.

"You look at a guy whose only been in the league one or two, [reps] are valuable because you're constantly learning and you don't perfect your craft for awhile in this business and so it takes you a little bit," he said.

But it remains to be seen if that will compel the coach to give Abdullah the go-ahead this weekend.

If it was up to Abdullah, of course, he'd already be penciled in the starting lineup.

"I love this game. Since I was young all I've known is football, so not having football to rely on fully for the past couple weeks has been tough. But now I feel like I'm ready to play," he said.

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