Lions’ RB Zach Zenner returns: Five things to know

Healthy after snapping 2 bones in his back

ALLEN PARK >> Zach Zenner said he was actuall a little nervous for Wednesday’s practice, his first since the Lions re-signed him on Tuesday.

The running back had not been with the Lions since he signed an injury settlement and was waived on Sept. 12.

“Where I’ve always fit is whatever I’m asked to do whether it’s on special teams or offense, whatever they need,’’ said Zenner who played in eight games last season mostly on special teams.

He wasn’t done with football but he wasn’t sure if football was done with him until he got the call from Lions GM Bob Quinn.

Five things to know about Zenner:

1. First things first, he had to get healthy after a back injury. That took about six weeks which matched the settlement. He feels great now. He had snapped two bones in his back but said he was lucky it wasn’t worse. “If you’re going to break your back, that’s what you want to do,’’ Zenner said.

2. When he signed the agreement there was some talk about bringing him back. “The thing is it was so long ago, you can have whatever intentions you want but then eight weeks into the season who knows what’s going to be happening,’’ Zenner said. “I was aware of that although whether they wanted to or not who knew if they were going to be able to bring me back.’’

3. While he was away from the team he said he watched every game except two. “While I was not healthy I was enjoying being at home watching, but when I got healthy it got harder to watch because you feel like you could be out there playing and participating or at least helping out during the week at practice,’’ Zenner said on Wednesday. “Once you’re healthy that’s when it’s this is getting tougher to watch.’’

4. He was preparing for either a return to football or moving on with his life. He studied for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test.) “I took it five years ago in May so I need to retake it. Was I going to have to retake it? Yes, sucks but I have to. Spent a lot of time studying for that, still plan to take it in March or April.’’ His teammates call him “Doc” because of  his intentions to go to medical school after football. He also got to spend quality time with his wife and young son. “He is working on crawling which is exciting and terrifying,’’ Zenner said.

5. Zenner and Ameer Abdullah joined the Lions at the same time and became great friends. “He’s been my teammate my whole career. It’s tough to see him go, I wish him the best. I’ll be watching whenever I can. Great guy, great teammate,’’ Zenner said. The Lions waived Abdullah on Tuesday and the Vikings claimed him.


Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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