“The potential is unreal,” said Lions center
It’s an honest opinion by Raiola because there is an element of the unknown with Leshoure. The Lions think he's the guy that can make a safety miss and bust a small gain into a big one, but they haven't seen it in real action yet.
An Achilles tendon injury wiped out Leshoure’s rookie season a year ago and a two-game suspension handed down by the league for two marijuana possession citations this offseason have kept him out of the Lions’ first two games this season.
Leshoure was back on the practice field for the portion of practice open to the media Wednesday, though, and is expected to make his NFL debut Sunday against the Titans.
“We’ve been waiting to get him on the field for a long time,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s a multidimensional back. He’s not just a power runner inside, which he can do. He can make guys miss. Mikel fits what we want.
“We’ll reserve judgment and wait to see what his contribution will be, but it was good to get him back on the practice field.”
Leshoure played in the Lions last two preseason games after missing a good portion of training camp with a hamstring injury. He rushed for 43 yards and caught a 33-yard pass in his most extensive work against the Bills in the preseason finale.
The Lions are hoping he can help kick-start their run game this week against a Titans team that's ranked 30th in the NFL against the run over the last two weeks.
“I think he’s one of the bigger pieces that we’ve been missing for a couple years now,” Raiola said. “I think he’s got it all. He just needs to get into the game.”