Bell credits a newfound sense of patience for his role with Lions

Posted Dec 13, 2012

Joique Bell, who went undrafted out of Wayne State, bounced around from team to team before finally signing with the Lions last year.

Joique Bell credits a newfound sense of patience with his now contributing role with the Lions.

Bell said the patience to not simply jump at the next opportunity or the fastest route to playing time is why he is where he is.

"One of the reasons I went around from team to team (in his first year and a half in league) was because my personal choice," Bell said. "If the team put me on their practice squad ... I wanted to play ... I'll go to the next active roster I could. I was impatient. I was a little bit more immature.

"I just had to learn in order to get a shot somewhere, that you don't have to run to the first opportunity, (instead of) what's a good fit for you."

Bell, who went undrafted out of Wayne State, bounced around from the Bills' practice squad to the Eagles' active roster to the Eagles' practice squad to the Colts and then to the Saints' practice squad over his first year and a half in the league before the Lions eventually signed him off the Saints' practice squad late last year.

"I just wanted to play," Bell said. "I didn't really give myself a fair shot. When I came here, I was able to ... I came here at the end of last year so I had the whole offseason to sit down and learn the offense and get comfortable with the offense and play fast. That was one of the things that was big for me. That was a big advantage for me."

With Jahvid Best dealing with concussion issues and Mikel Leshoure suspended the first two weeks of the season, Bell saw the opportunities with the Lions and stuck with it.

"I used to say listen, ‘When you get a chance to get into the game you need to know that if we call a run you need to use your size. If we call a pass use your athleticism and talent. If you do both in this league you can be a very effective player on offense,'" Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said of conversations he had with Bell before the preseason.

"We called runs earlier in the year and he's finishing games averaging five and six yards per carry. He has our three longest runs of the year. He's the third-leading receiver on our team right now. With the amount of plays (Bell plays), he's probably our most productive player right now."

The numbers don't lie.

Bell has rushed for 374 yards with a 5.4 average with three touchdowns. He also has 39 receptions for 380 yards.

Bell has steadily earned more and more playing time as the year has gone on and is almost on equal footing with starter Mikel Leshoure. Bell had 12 carries in Green Bay last week to Leshoure's 14.

"I like this offense because it gives me a chance to showcase my talents as far as catching the ball, as far as running, as far as everything I can bring to the table," Bell said.

Bell's patience seems to have finally paid off and both he and the Lions are being rewarded for it.

"We all saw that he had the ability," Linehan said. "But he proved it to us. He was able to take it to the game.

"We utilize back's strengths and he has size but he also has some versatility as a receiver.

"Jahvid (Best) was certainly our explosive player at the running back position, but Joique has some explosiveness even though he's not a burner. He gets explosive plays running the ball and catching the ball."

Bell is a restricted free agent after the season, but says he's found a home with the Lions. There's no more chasing the next opportunity.

"I mean I'm home grown (he's from Benton Harbor)," Bell said. "They gave me an opportunity here and that's all I ever asked. I just want to make the most of it."