Abdullah has received a good look with expected featured back
"I like Abdullah more every day," Lombardi told the Detroit Free Press. "He's a real pro, and every day, you can see him do things that actually excite you.
The second-round pick out of Nebraska has handled punt and kickoff return duties and has played mostly with the second team in OTAs. He has also flashed as a pass-catcher.
"He didn't get a chance, maybe, to show everything he can do as a receiver at Nebraska, but he's even better in that phase of the game than I thought when we drafted him," Lombardi said. "So it was kind of a bonus."
"I think you're always concerned," offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi told MLive.com. "But the doctors and he all tell us that he's going to be able to come back.
"Really, I think your biggest concern is just is he going to be able to get in the shape that you wanted to at the beginning of camp? But we'll be careful with him and smart and ramp him up as we go."
Bell was the lone shining light in the backfield for Detroit a year ago. He finished with a career-high 860 yards rushing on 223 carries and exceeded 4.0 yards per carry in the second half.
His mere availability for the OTA is encouraging, however, given the minor surgeries he underwent in the offseason.
Bell came on strong at the end of last year and finished with 860 yards and a 3.9 yards-per-carry average.
Even though the
GM Joe Lombardi called the veteran tandem a "work in progress".
"Joique we love. He's a tough guy. Runs hard. Just keeping him healthy will be key," Lombardi said, per NFL.com. "I'm very excited for Theo (Riddick) and have been since I first got here. I think we're going to see great things from him."
With Reggie Bush banged up for a good portion of the 2014 season, the
Barring any offseason moves, the Lions could once again look to Bell as their feature back in 2015, especially since Bush is no longer on the roster following his release last week.
“I think we worked well together,” Bell told the team's official website of his relationship with Bush. “I think we proved our tandem our first season playing together when we made history. But I’m definitely ready to handle whatever the team needs me to do."
Bell, who has totaled 15 rushing touchdowns the last two seasons, had his best year as a pro in '14 and showed the football world he could handle a job as a feature back in the NFL.
“I think it was more so for the front office and for coaches to see that I could handle that,” he said. “It wasn’t for me as a player. I know what I can and can’t handle as a player. As far as me carrying the load, I know what I can and can’t do.
“I always knew I had the ability. It was just about getting the opportunity. I didn’t know when that opportunity would come. I just had to be patient and wait."
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