Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson fields questions on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Allen Park.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press

Zach Zenner showed enough this season that it’s hard to imagine the Detroit Lions or another NFL team won’t give him a good chance to earn a job next season.

“I feel like I prepared as best I could and I did the most I could to take advantage of the opportunities I was given,” the fourth-year running back said Monday. “I feel like I showed a decent picture of who I am as a player and if people decide that’s good enough to be on a team, cool. If not, that’s OK, too.”

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It’s more than OK, because Zenner plans to become a doctor when his NFL career is over. He’s going to retake the medical-college admission test in March because his previous score expired. In April, he will work on a South Dakota lab study on Batten disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that typically affects children.

That’s the future Zenner is certain of. His immediate future in the NFL is cloudier. But he did provide some clarity for teams like the Lions that are in the market for an experienced backup with special-teams ability.

Zenner, 27, finished the season strong since the Lions re-signed him in early November. He had a career-high 93 yards Sunday at Green Bay and finished the season with a 4.8-yard average, bumping up his career average to 3.9 yards.

Zenner and Kerryon Johnson were the highlights among an improved run game. Zenner wouldn’t attribute his newfound success to the Lions’ new run-first scheme complementing his vertical running style.

“Maybe,” he said. “It’s hard to say. I think I would just go back to as an offense, our whole room had a lot of success this year. So what does that mean? To me, that means the offensive line, the coaching staff, they were all doing a great job.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.