Released on Tuesday by their NFL teams, safety Jermaine Whitehead and running back Ameer Abdullah have new homes in the league on Wednesday after being claimed off the waiver wire.
Waived by the Green Bay Packers, Whitehead, a former Auburn standout, was claimed by the Cleveland Browns.
Waived by the Detroit Lions, Abdullah, a former Homewood High School standout, was claimed by the Minnesota Vikings.
Minnesota’s addition of Abdullah came at the expense of another former Alabama prep star. The Vikings waived running back Roc Thomas, who played at Oxford High School and Jacksonville State, to make room on the roster for Abdullah.
Wednesday’s NFL transactions report included a fourth player with Alabama football roots: The Los Angeles Chargers signed defensive tackle Anthony Lanier, a former Alabama A&M standout, for their practice squad.
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The Packers waived Whitehead after he was ejected from Sunday’s 31-17 loss to New England for slapping the helmet of Patriots center David Andrews.
In seven games, including two starts, in 2018, Whitehead was on the field for 221 defensive snaps and 138 special-teams plays. He had 20 tackles, made one sack and broke up two passes.
A second-round draft choice from Nebraska, Abdullah led the Lions in rushing and the NFL in kickoff-return yards in 2015 and was Detroit’s top ball-carrier again in 2017 after an injury limited him to two games in 2016.
The addition of LeGarrette Blount and former Auburn standout Kerryon Johnson to the Lions’ backfield during the offseason limited Abdullah to one carry for 1 yard, two receptions for 18 yards and four kickoff returns for a 26.8-yard average with the Lions in 2018.
In 35 NFL games, Abdullah has 1,251 yards and six touchdowns on 327 carries, 57 receptions for 420 yards and three TDs and a 27.8-yard average on 49 kickoff returns in his career.
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Thomas earned a spot on the Vikings’ roster as an undrafted rookie. He had played in five games, with 30 yards on eight rushing attempts, two receptions for 21 yards and a 20-yard kickoff return.
After playing in four games for Washington as an undrafted rookie in 2016, Lanier played in 10 games, with two starts, and registered five sacks for the Redskins in 2017. But he was released with an injury designation in September because of a hip flexor/groin problem.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.