Bell looking to erase the stigma surrounding him

Posted Aug 9, 2011

Mike Bell knows he didn't have a good 2010 season.

In 16 games - 11 with Philadelphia and five with Cleveland - he had 99 rushing yards on 47 carries and 67 receiving yards on seven catches.

He was so disappointed in the way he performed, he wasn't even waiting by the phone for teams to call him.

"I was so unproductive last year," he said. "(I was) playing with the Eagles and not playing very much and then when I got traded to the Browns I didn't play very much."

Bell has enjoyed seasons of high productivity. He had 677 rushing yards with eight touchdowns as a rookie with the Broncos and 654 rushing yards with five touchdowns as a fourth-year pro with the Super Bowl Champion Saints.

In both Philadelphia and then Cleveland, he struggled to get on the field considering the talent he had ahead of him.

"LeSean McCoy is Pro-Bowl caliber and Peyton Hillis is Pro-Bowl caliber," he said. "It really was nothing I did. I know I’m stigmatized now, but I’m about to show everybody this year.”

Bell is one of two tailbacks signed Tuesday in light of rookie Mikel Leshoure's season-ending Achilles injury.

At 6-0 and 225 pounds, Bell is the bigger of the two backs and nearly identical to Leshoure's physical make-up (Leshoure is 6-0 and 227 pounds).

"Both have different skills and both of them have good resumes," said Head Coach Jim Schwartz. "We’ll try to get them up (to speed) as quick as we can."

The running back position - partcularly for veteran players - makes for an easier transition when switching systems.

In fact, both Bell and Harrison participated in Tuesday's practice after just arriving in Allen Park that morning.

"Shows you a little bit about their ability to pick things up and how quickly we can assimilate them,” said Schwartz.

While he didn't get into specific skill-sets, Schwartz did describe Bell and Harrison as quality players who have competed well at the NFL level.

He added that it is too early to envision a role for either or both of them and cautioned against trying to make predictions as to who may make the final 53-man roster.

“It’s still way too early in camp to start talking about numbers," he said. "So much can happen between now and the end of camp."

Both players are simply looking for a chance to prove themselves. Particularly Bell, who has been craving an opportunity with a team that could use him.

"It means everything to me," he said. "Just the fact that they chose me is a blessing. I think I bring hard running (and can get) those tough yards, but I’m (also) trying to open my game up this year."