Barry Sanders says Ameer Abdullah is a 'big-play' running back

Former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders knew a thing or two about making big plays. Through his 10-year NFL career, Sanders maintained an insane average of 5.0 yards per carry.

So when Sanders speaks up about Lions rookie running back Ameer Abdullah and his "big-play" potential, people listen to what he has to say.

"He's a big-play player," Sanders said, via the Lions' official website. "I can't predict immediately what we have, but I think he does have that big-play mentality and experience. So he should be a nice fit for our offense."

The Lions have a pair of Pro Bowl wide receivers in Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate -- both of whom eclipsed 1,000 yards last season -- but having an impact playmaker at running back makes the offense more dynamic, in Sanders' opinion.

"I think it puts a lot of pressure on defenses in many ways," Sanders said, per "Having that threat, and having someone like that back there ... defenses have to be more in tune and really be able to defend it.

"Truthfully, some defensive backs don't consider themselves as tacklers. You make those guys do what they don't want to do, and it puts pressure on the defense when a guy gets in space and can be a threat to hit a long one."

Abdullah was a second-round pick in this year's draft and could become the team's featured back sooner rather than later. Veteran Joique Bell has been on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list all summer, and third-year pro Theo Riddick is best suited as a third-down back.

(h/t Detroit Lions)

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya