Lions RB Mikel Leshoure “good” despite diminished role
“No, I’m good,” Leshoure said after practice Monday. “I am low-key and I’ve always been like that. I have fun with the guys in the locker room. But at the end of the day, it’s the NFL. It’s a competitive league and all you can do is go out and compete.”
“My role is whatever they say it is,” Leshoure continued. “I don’t have any suggestions. Whatever it is, I will roll with it.”
Leshoure was originally drafted out of Illinois by the Lions in 2011. He sat out his rookie season with an ACL injury. Leshoure also missed the first two games of the 2012 season, due suspensions stemming from a pair of offseason arrests. During 14 games last season, Leshoure ended up sharing running back duties with Bell – who is an undrafted player out of Wayne State and bounced around the league, from one practice squad to another, with five different teams until signing with the Lions in 2011.
While as a second-round pick, Leshoure could have been easily expected to serve get significant playing time as running back with most NFL teams. However, the Lions’ signing of Bush was a reminder that nothing is set in stone.
“I just got to keep working. It is what it is. I’ve been in competition since I was in college and the only thing you can do when you are competing is work, go to practice and work,” Leshoure added optiistically. “It’s a competition. It’s the NFL, best of the best, just go out and work.”
In three preseason games, Leshoure had 34 offensive snaps compared to Bell’s 42, while the latter also locked in 28 specials teams snaps to Leshoure’s seven. The significant bump in his role on the offense translated well for Bell on the field as he rushed for 75 yards on 11 carries and caught seven passes for 91 yards. Meanwhile, Leshoure had 59 yards on 13 carries and zero catches over that period.
“I am not disappointed and I am not frustrated,” Leshoure added. “It is what it is. I just go out and take advantage of my opportunities. I come to work. I go to meetings, I take notes, I do everything I am supposed to do. At this level you have to be professional about everything.”
The 23-year-old Leshoure also claimed he’s fully recovered from the Achilles surgery, and is hoping to get a lot of work in the Lions’ preseason finale at Buffalo this Thursday. He might not get much a lot of playing time (or any at all) with the Lions’ first team offense and won’t have the advantage of quarterback Matthew Stafford running a potent attack through the air. But Leshoure is still looking to put up a fight and prove to the coaching staff that he is worthy of the backup job at running back.
“Every game is important for me,” Leshoure said. “However many carries I get, however many plays I get, I just have to take advantage and let the film do the work.”