ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions selected Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah in the second round of the NFL draft Friday night, filling a need and adding depth after cutting Reggie Bush in the offseason.
Abdullah rushed for over 1,600 yards in each of his final two seasons with the Cornhuskers. Joique Bell rushed for 860 yards for Detroit last season, and Abdullah gives the Lions another option.
Abdullah was the 54th overall pick Friday night, about 24 hours after Detroit took offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson of Duke in the first round — a big night for a Duke program that’s been on the rise of late. It was also a proud moment for Tomlinson’s native Jamaica.
“My dad is still there. He was really excited about everything that happened,” Tomlinson said. “I still have extended family there and they were rooting for me. I would say the island is pretty happy right now.”
Tomlinson was introduced Friday at the Lions’ practice facility after being selected the night before with the 28th pick. Tomlinson moved to the U.S. from Jamaica when he was 11, after growing up in a crowded home on the Caribbean island.
“It was a simple life. Back then I didn’t have the knowledge I have today but just looking back, we didn’t have much at all,” Tomlinson said. “It was a tough lifestyle. Just having the opportunity to make that switch — my grandparents moved to the United States before we did and they worked to get their kids, and their kids’ kids, to the United States.”
Tomlinson’s mother was in attendance at his introductory news conference. He went to Lane Technical High School in Chicago before heading to Duke.
The transition to the U.S. wasn’t always easy. For one thing, the weather was a lot different.
“Never really wore sweaters in Jamaica,” he said. “That first night in Chicago was shocking. It was like 30 degrees or something and we were freezing, and no one brought sweaters, so my uncle had to go get some sweaters for us.”
The Lions also introduced offensive lineman Manny Ramirez, whom they acquired in a trade with Denver. Ramirez was drafted by the Lions in 2007 and remained with them before being cut in 2010 and catching on with the Broncos.
“When I got released from here it did hurt a lot,” he said. “But at the same time I truly believe that it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It put a lot of things in perspective for me.”