The Detroit Lions‘ running back corps is the same as the one that ended the 2016 season.
Despite being linked to veteran LeGarrette Blount, who signed in Philadelphia on Wednesday, and connected to possibly adding a rookie in the draft, the Lions stood pat with their running back depth chart.
The Lions are set to enter the 2017 season with Ameer Abdullah — who missed all but two games last year — as the lead runner, followed by scat back Theo Riddick, with Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington as low-upside between-the-tackles backups.
Abdullah said the offseason discussions about adding a back didn’t threaten his status as the alpha.
“It doesn’t bother me to talk about that stuff, but at the same time, I don’t really care what really happened, because I feel like I’m a better player than whoever they were going to bring in,” Abdullah said, via the Detroit News. “It didn’t matter to me. That’s just me being a player and a competitor.
“I wasn’t really counting on [the team not adding someone], I was counting on myself to do the things that I needed to do to be healthy so when the time came to compete, with whoever it was.”
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The lack of additions to the group was a resounding vote of confidence in Abdullah from the team’s brass. General manager Bob Quinn wasn’t in charge when Abdullah was selected in the second round in 2015, giving that vote of confidence deeper meaning. It would have made perfect sense for Quinn to bring in his own guys to supersede an injured player who has earned fewer than 700 total rushing yards in two seasons.
The former first-round pick says he’s already talked about an extension with the team’s general manager (the Lions picked up his fifth-year option two weeks ago) and eyes a long-term future in Detroit.
“Let’s just say (general manager) Bob (Quinn) is my guy, and we talk often, and, you know, we have things in place,” Ebron said, via wholesalenfljerseysband.com. “We’ve had our own talks, and he’s looking for some things from me, and hopefully I can just give him what he’s looking for.”
Ebron has never been lacking in confidence. Selected two spots ahead of 2014 rookie of the year Odell Beckham and three spots ahead of defensive rookie of the year Aaron Donald, the former North Carolina product has posted just 1,496 yards and seven touchdowns over three seasons. He has yet to make it through a full 16-game season and started just 15 games over his first two years.
Picking up the option, while largely a business decision, could potentially be interpreted as a vote of confidence. Ebron is clearly talented, and has the speed and strength to be a mid-range matchup nightmare.
But Quinn, while apparently being Ebron’s guy, also told reporters in late April that the draft could possibly impact his decision to pick up the option or not.
The Lions say Walker died Friday. Walker said in 2015 he had Parkinson’s disease.
“Wayne was one of our finest players from the decade of the 60s and will not only be remembered for his career accomplishments as a Lion, but also for his great success as a broadcaster after his playing days were over,” Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford said in a team statement.
The former Idaho standout set a team record by playing in 200 games. The mark stood until kicker Jason Hanson surpassed it in 2004. The three-time Pro Bowl selection led the Lions in scoring three times as its kicker during his 15-year career.
Walker went on to be an NFL analyst for CBS and the San Francisco 49ers. He was sports director of San Francisco TV station KPIX from 1979-1994.