Second-year man Ameer Abdullah is atop the Lions’ depth chart at running back, but they won’t rely on him as a workhorse, according to head coach Jim Caldwell (via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com). “Do I think that he’s durable enough to do it? Absolutely,” Caldwell said. “Do I think he’s strong enough to do it? Absolutely. I just don’t think that’s his cup of tea.” Abdullah, a second-round pick last year, averaged 4.2 yards per carry on 143 attempts as a rookie, but he didn’t eclipse the 16-rush mark in any of his 16 appearances. He’s also coming off shoulder surgery that limited him throughout the offseason, as Meinke notes. Pass-catching specialist Theo Riddick and another second-year player, Zach Zenner, are among the Lions’ other backfield options.
More from around the NFL on opening night of the 2016 season:
- Saints head coach Sean Payton says that he preferred cornerback Sterling Moore to Cortland Finnegan because he’s better in man coverage and a younger player, as Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets. The Saints signed the 26-year-old Moore on Tuesday after releasing Finnegan, 32. Payton isn’t sure how much Moore will help in Week 1 against Oakland, but the coach likes his versatility, intelligence and short-area quickness (Twitter link via Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com).
- Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson has changed representation, hiring agents Jonathan Perzley and Brian Mackler of Sportstars NYC, Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets.
- A pair of free agents – defensive end Rufus Johnson and outside linebacker/DE Sadat Sulleyman – worked out for the Chiefs on Thursday (Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle). Johnson, whom New Orleans took in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, made his first career appearance last season as a member of the Patriots. Sulleyman, undrafted this year from Portland State, didn’t survive the Broncos’ final cuts. He worked out for the Bengals on Wednesday.
- There was no shortage of big news Thursday: Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets; the Steelers inked guard David DeCastro to a massive contract extension; and five-time Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch hasn’t closed the door on returning to the league.
- In case you missed it, the PFR staff weighed in with its 2016 NFL predictions Thursday.
Zach Links contributed to this post.