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Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah (21) returns a kickoff against the Chicago Bears during an NFL football game in Detroit, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. The Lions defeated the Bears 20-10. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

The Detroit Lions released running back Ameer Abdullah on Tuesday after parts of four seasons with the team. 

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the news. The Lions are signing wide receiver Bruce Ellington in a subsequent move. 

Detroit selected Abdullah with the No. 54 overall pick in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft out of Nebraska, but he never managed to develop into a workhorse back.

His spot on Detroit’s roster was tenuous entering the season since the Lions signed veteran LeGarrette Blount in free agency and selected Kerryon Johnson in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. He also had to contend with holdovers Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner.

While Abdullah made the roster, he played sparingly, registering one carry for one yard. 

The  25-year-old  largely struggled last season, rushing for 552 yards and four touchdowns on 165 totes, which was good for a yards-per-carry average of just 3.3. He also caught 25 passes for 162 yards and one score.

Abdullah did show promise as a rookie in 2015 when he appeared in all 16 games and made nine starts. He rushed for a career-high 597 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry while scoring three touchdowns from scrimmage.

He was unable to build on that, though, as injuries limited him to just two games in 2016.

Despite some of his shortcomings on the field and the fact he has missed 16 games over the past two seasons, Abdullah still boasts a ton of potential.

He is a speedy runner with good vision, and he is still young enough to the point that there’s hope he can turn things around in the coming years.

That won’t happen for him in Detroit, but among running backs on the open market, nobody has more upside than Abdullah.

Because of that, it is easy to envision another team taking a chance on him this season.

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