Ameer Abdullah

Ameer Abdullah

refer to caption

Abdullah in 2012
No. 21Detroit Lions
Position: Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1993-06-13) June 13, 1993
Place of birth: Homewood, Alabama
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 203 lb (92 kg)
Career information
High school: Homewood (AL)
College: Nebraska
NFL Draft: 2015 / Round: 2 / Pick: 54
Career history
Roster status: Injured reserve
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 1, 2016
Rushing yards: 660
Receptions: 30
Receiving yards: 240
Kickoff return yards: 1,077
Total touchdowns: 4
Player stats at

Ameer Abdullah (born June 13, 1993) is an American football running back for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Nebraska.[1] In 2013, Abdullah rushed for 1,690 yards, fourth most in Nebraska history.[2] He decided not to enter the NFL draft at the end of his junior year, but instead to return for his senior season.[2][3][4][5] He was considered a contender for the 2014 Heisman Trophy.[6][7][8] He is a native of Homewood, Alabama[9]

High school career

During senior year of high school, Abdullah had 1,800 yards rushing, 515 yards receiving, and ran back four punts for touchdowns.[9] He was the 2010 South region player of the year.[10] In the 2010, Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic, he scored the winning touchdown in overtime.[11]

Also a track star at Homewood, he ran a career-best time of 11.15 seconds in the 100 meters at the 2011 AHSAA 6A Section 3 Championships, placing 7th in the prelims. He also competed in the long jump; he had a career-best leap of 6.60 meters.[12]

College career

College decision

Abdullah was offered football scholarships from several schools, but schools such as Alabama and Auburn wanted him to play cornerback, while he wanted to be a running back.[13] Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, however, while making no guarantees, told him that they would put him in a position that would maximize his talent. That was the critical factor in choosing Nebraska.[13]


Abdullah was one of six true freshman to play for Nebraska. His best game was against Fresno State when he had 228 return yards. He had 211 kickoff return yards including a 100-yard touchdown return. The total kickoff return yards broke the previous Nebraska record. His best running total was 36 yards and his longest run was 24 yards, both against Wyoming.[9]


After Rex Burkhead was injured, Abdullah started seven games. His first start was against UCLA and he rushed for 119 yards with two touchdowns. His longest run was 45 yards against Arkansas State. He had 252 all-purpose yards against Wisconsin, which included five kickoffs totaling 142 yards, 10 rushes for 70 yards, and 22 yards receiving. During the game against Penn State he rushed for 116 yards and 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his college career. His per game average of 134.5 all-purpose yards ranked fourth in the Big Ten Conference and his per game average of 81.2 rushing yards ranked ninth.[9]


Abdullah rushed for over 100 yards in 11 of 13 games (including the Gator Bowl). The 10, 100-yard games during the regular season placed him fourth in Nebraska school history. He achieved a career high rushing against Illinois of 225 yards. For the season, he rushed for an average of 130.7 yards per game, which ranked him second in the Big Ten and seventh nationally. He had 232 yards in pass receptions and averaged 154.9 all-purpose yards per game, which also ranked him second in the Big Ten. He was placed on the All-Big Ten first-team by both the conference’s coaches and media. He was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award.[9]

After Abdullah played in the Gator Bowl, he considered whether he should enter the 2014 NFL football draft as an underclassman.[14] On 9 January 2014, he decided to stay at Nebraska for his senior season, stating that

I have come to realize that life is bigger than football... and that my chances of long-term success in life will be greatly enhanced by completing my college education. … If playing in the NFL is truly in God’s plans for me, then God will again present this opportunity to me after I complete my college education.[15]


Ameer Abdullah running north to south in Memorial Stadium, Lincoln during the Nebraska vs. Florida Atlantic college football game on August 30, 2014

Sporting News lists Abdullah among their top 10 candidates for the Heisman trophy in 2014[16] and they list Abdullah as the number 4 returning running back.[17] In late September, 2014, Eric Galko and Ian Wharton of Sporting News analyzed his running attributes. They concluded that even though his 40-yard time is not below 4.4 second and he does not possess the most power when running, he is a complete running back. He runs very low, below the pad level of defenders, making him very difficult to tackle. Abdullah has great balance, vision to find holes and the patience to wait for his blockers to those open holes. These running characteristics together with his burst, shiftiness in space, and ability to keep his legs moving when hit, make him "the most well-rounded tailback in the country".[18]

In early September, 2014, Nebraska sent out AA batteries to members of the sports news media and created a website for Abdullah to promote his Heisman campaign.[19]

Both Abdullah and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston trained together at the same gym in Birmingham, Alabama. On September 22, 2014, Abdullah commented how Winston could avoid controversies in the future.[20]

Think before you act. Understand the bigger picture. Everything that you do, say or how you present yourself can have dire consequences. That's something I feel like he definitely needs to assess more.[20]

In December, 2014, Abdullah received the Senior CLASS Award for the most outstanding senior college football player in Division I based on classroom performance, community contributions, personal character, and athletic achievements. Players are selected based on votes from FBS football coaches, media, and fans.[21]

Florida Atlantic

Abdullah ran for a career high, rushing for 232 yards on 21 carries for an average of 11 yards per carry in a 55-7 win over Florida Atlantic. His longest run was 47 yards for a touchdown. He also caught one pass for 9 yards. On September 1, he won Big Ten offensive player of the week.[22]

McNeese State

Abdullah ran for 67 yards on 17 carries for an average of 3.2 yards per carry in a 31-24 win over the McNeese State Cowboys. His longest run was 19 yards. He caught 3 passes for 96 yards and his 58-yard run after his last catch with 20 seconds left in the game put Nebraska up by a touchdown and was the game-winning score.[23]

Fresno State

Abdullah ran for 110 yards on 19 carries for an average of 5.8 yards per carry in a 55-19 win over the Fresno State Bulldogs. During the first quarter, he ran 57 yards for a touchdown.[24]


Ameer Abdullah running for a touchdown in the fourth quarter during the Nebraska vs. Miami football game, September 9, 2014.

Abdullah ran for 229 yards on 35 carries for an average of 6.5 yards per carry with two touchdowns in a 41-31 win over Miami Hurricanes. His 35 carries were a career high and his last touchdown sealed the win. His longest run was 26 yards and he caught one pass for three yards and a touchdown.[25][26] Abdullah also had 313 all-purpose yards, which broke Nebraska's 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers' record of 5,586 career all-purpose yards. Abdullah's career total reached 5,762 yards.[27] On September 22, 2014, Abdullah was Big Ten co-offensive player for week four, sharing honors with Melvin Gordon.[28]


Abdullah ran for 208 yards on 22 carries for an average of 9.5 yards per carry with three touchdowns in a 45-14 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini. He rushed for 196 yards by halftime. His longest run was 28 yards and he had four runs of 20 yards or more before halftime.[29] On September 29, 2014, Abdullah was named Big Ten player offensive player of the week.[30]

Michigan State

Abdullah was held to 45 yards rushing on 24 attempts for an average of 1.9 yards per carry and two touchdowns in a 27–22 loss to the Michigan State Spartans. He also had two pass receptions for 22 yards.[31]


Abdullah ran for 146 yards on 23 carries for an average of 6.3 yards per carry with four touchdowns in a 38–17 win over the Northwestern Wildcats. He was held to 39 yards at halftime, but rushed for 107 yards in the second half including a 50 yard at the beginning of the fourth quarter that set up his third touchdown. He also had 4 pass receptions for 13 yards.[32][33]


Abdullah turning the corner on his third touchdown run.
Abdullah crossing the 20 yard line.
Abdullah heading to the end zone.
Abdullah crosses the goal line.

Abdullah ran for 225 yards on 19 carries for an average of 11.8 yards per carry with four touchdowns in a 42–24 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. In the first half, Abdullah had runs of 53 and 48 yards for touchdowns on two consecutive series. In the second half, he ran for 49 yards on the first play of the half and Tommy Armstrong Jr. subsequently threw a touchdown pass for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Abdullah ran 23 yards for his third touchdown of the game. He also caught two passes for 26 yards and he returned two kickoffs for 90 yards. His 341 all-purpose yards set a new record for all-purpose yards at Nebraska.[34]

On Monday, October 27, Abdullah was named Big 10 offensive player of the week for the fourth time in the 2014 season.[35] He named to the Paul Hornung Award honor roll for the third time during the 2014 season.[36] He was also named Week 9 player of the week by Athlon Sports.[37]


Abdullah ran for 1 yard on six carries before he was injured in the first quarter in a 35–14 win over the Purdue Boilermakers. Pelini told reporters after the game that Abdullah had suffered a "mild" MCL sprain and bruise when he tried to recover a fumbled snap by the quarter back on a fourth down at the Purdue 1-yardline. When asked, Pelini said that he was optimistic that Abdullah would be ready to play the Wisconsin Badgers on November 15, but he added he couldn't say for sure whether he would be able to play.[38]


Rushing and receiving statistics by year.[9][39]

Rushing Receiving
Year Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD

Punt, kick return, and all-purpose yardage statistics by year.[9][40]

Punt Returns Kick Returns All-Purpose
Year Att Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Att Yds Ave TD

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
5 ft 9 in 205 lb 4.55 s 1.48 s 2.63 s 3.95 s 6.79 s 42.5 in 10 ft 10 in 24 reps
All values from NFL Combine, 40-yard dash from Pro Day[41]

Abdullah was drafted 54th overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2015 NFL Draft.[42]

Abdullah made his NFL debut on August 13, 2015, against the New York Jets.[43] Abdullah had his first rushing touchdown against the San Diego Chargers.[44] Abdullah caught his first receiving touchdown against the Denver Broncos.[44][45] On September 13, 2015, Abdullah caught and ran for a season & career-high 44 receiving yards and a season & career-high 4 catches against the San Diego Chargers.[46] On October 11, 2015, Abdullah fumbled the ball twice against the Arizona Cardinals.[47] On November 15, 2015, in a game against the Green Bay Packers, Abdullah returned a kickoff for 104 yards, and was stopped at the one-yard line, tying the NFL record set by Percy Harvin in 2011 for the longest non-scoring play in NFL history.[48] On November 26, 2015, Abdullah posted 63 rushing yards in 16 carries against the Philadelphia Eagles.[49] Of those 63 yards, they included a 23-yard gain.[50] On December 3, 2015, Abdullah recorded a season & career-long 36-yard run against the Green Bay Packers.[51] On December 21, 2015, Abdullah posted a season & career-high 77 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown as well as a fumble against the New Orleans Saints.[52][53] Of those 77 yards, they included a 27-yard gain and a 15-yard touchdown.[54][55]

Abdullah was named the 2015 Lions Rookie Player of the Year by members of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.

On September 21, 2016, Abdullah was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury that he received on September 19, 2016 while playing the Tennessee Titans.[56]


Ameer Abdullah was born on June 13, 1993 in Homewood, Alabama, the son of Kareem and Aisha Abdullah, and the youngest of nine children.[57] He majored in History at Nebraska.[9] Ameer Abdullah is a devout Muslim and is dedicated to his faith.[58]


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  33. "Nebraska 38 Northwestern 17". ESPN. 18 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
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  44. 1 2 "Ameer Abdullah: Game Logs at". Retrieved 2016-02-07.
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  46. "Lions vs. Chargers - Box Score - September 13, 2015 - ESPN". Retrieved 2016-02-07.
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  50. "Lions Ameer Abdullah breaks free for 23 yards". Retrieved 2016-02-13.
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  52. "Lions vs. Saints - Box Score - December 21, 2015 - ESPN". Retrieved 2016-02-07.
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  56. Patra, Kevin. "Lions Place Ameer Abdullah on Injured Reserve list. URL= September 21, 2016. Access date September 21, 2016
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  58. McMann, Aaron. "41 comments Get to know Ameer Abdullah: Detroit Lions' pick has eight siblings, dedicated to his Islamic faith". mLive. Retrieved 4 October 2015.

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