It turns out the latter was the better of the two options for both he and the Lions.
Bell and the Lions agreed to a three-year, $9.3 million contract on Tuesday ahead of the start of the league year at 4 p.m. The deal will keep him a Lion through the 2016 season.
Bell told Detroitlions.com that $4.3 million of the contract is guaranteed.
“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I don’t think this could have played out better in a movie. It’s my home state. I played at Wayne State. Working as a security guard (at Ford Field). Now I’m living my dream.
“I’m speechless. I feel so many different emotions going through my body right now. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, hug my mom or grab my son.”
The deal keeps the team’s two-headed backfield of
Spearheaded by that duo, the Lions enjoyed their best rushing total in more than a decade as Bush and Bell became the first running back tandem in NFL history to each record 500 rushing and receiving yards.
Detroit’s running backs finished third in total yards (2,769) behind San Diego (2,843) and New England (2,776).
Bell finished sixth among all NFL running backs with 547 receiving yards and is eight rushing touchdowns ranked 11th.
Bell’s story is one of perseverance and hard work.
He grew up a Lions fan in Benton Harbor and was even a security guard at Ford Field while starring at Division II Wayne State University.
After going undrafted in 2010, Bell,27, bounced around from Buffalo, to Philadelphia, to Indianapolis, back to Philadelphia and then New Orleans, mostly on practice squads, before being signed off the Saints’ practice squad by the Lions in December of 2011.
“When I left Detroit after college the goal was to always find my way back here,” Bell said. “I’m beyond happy.”
In his first full season of work for the Lions in 2012, Bell averaged 5.0 yards per rush and had 899 total yards.
His combination of power and size has made him one of the best dual-threat backs in the NFL.
Bell said he was happy the deal would be able to provide financial security for his family, but that it also meant he could take care of some unfinished business in Detroit.
“We have a team where it can happen now and we have to make it happen now,” Bell said of winning in Detroit. “Right up there with being able to take care of my family is being able to be on a team with the potential to be great.
“When I’m out there playing, I’m not just playing for me. I’m playing for my city. I’m playing for my state. It’s bigger than football for me. It’s a pride thing. I want to bring that Lombardi Trophy home. It’s the most important thing on my bucket list.”