LIONS INSIDER

Joique Bell looking forward to a healthy offseason

Posted Jan 24, 2016

Last offseason was all about surgery, recovery and rehab for Joique Bell. This year, he can train the way he wants to.

Last offseason was all about surgery, recovery and rehab for Joique Bell.

He had procedures done on his knee and Achilles, which prevented him from participating in the offseason training program and limited his training efforts leading up to the start of training camp and the regular season.

Bell started training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and didn’t return to practice until the end of August.

He returned to game action Week 1 in San Diego but had just 14 yards on six carries. He had two yards on four carries the following week in Minnesota, and six yards on 10 carries Week 3 vs. Denver.

The Lions shut Bell down after that when it was clear he returned too soon. He missed the next three games and returned Week 7 vs. Minnesota.

Bell progressively got better as he got healthier through the year. He had his best games against St. Louis (Week 14) and New Orleans (Week 15) when he averaged 7.1 and 8.9 yards per carry, respectively.

But the season as a whole was disappointing for Bell. After rushing for 860 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014, he had just 311 yards (3.5 average) and four touchdowns, and was replaced as the team’s primary running back by rookie Ameer Abdullah.

Bell is entering the final year of a three-year, $9.3 million contract he signed before the 2014 season that’s paying him a base salary of $2.5 million. New GM Bob Quinn will decide this offseason if Bell is in his plans for 2016, but in the meantime, Bell says he’s enjoying a healthy offseason that will allow him to train the way he wants so he can come back stronger than ever.

“This is the best offseason I’ve had since going into my third year,” Bell said Friday during a break from helping teammates deliver water to Flint. “Going into my third year I had a pretty good season and I probably feel as good now as I did then. So I really have an offseason where I can train the way I want to train and get after it.

“The past two offseasons I’ve had nagging injuries and nagging things that kind of prevented me from training the way I wanted to train.”

Bell, 29, will turn 30 in August, but says age isn’t as much of a factor with him as it might be with other running backs because he doesn’t have as much wear and tear on his body in terms of vast amounts of carries.

He's carried the ball more than 200 times in a season just once (2014) and has only 561 carries over his eight-year career.

“There’s always a chip on your shoulder,” Bell said. “Do you still got it? Is he getting older?

“But in reality, I’m really young because I don’t have any wear and tear on my body, honestly. I feel good.”