Chicago Bears running back Kahlil Bell (32) is tackled by Buffalo Bills center Michael Switzer (62) and defensive tackle Lionel Dotson (97) in the second half an NFL preseason football game in Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: November 16, 2011 1:28AM
Three proven veterans top the Bears’ depth chart at running back. But Kahlil Bell did what he could Saturday against the Buffalo Bills to make sure his coaches don’t forget about him.
‘‘I can’t control what’s
going to happen with me,’’ Bell said. ‘‘But I know the coaches are going to give everyone an opportunity, and hopefully I can impress them enough to get on the field.’’
In 2009, as starter Matt Forte battled through injuries, the Bears were thin at running back. To address that issue, they signed former Minnesota Vikings starter Chester Taylor to a three-year, $12 million contract in the spring of 2010. Then the Bears couldn’t pass up former Dallas Cowboys starter Marion Barber at the start of free agency last month.
Against the Bills, Forte barely played, Taylor mustered only three yards on three carries and Barber distinguished himself with 45 yards on seven runs. Bell, though, topped them all with 13 carries for 73 yards and two catches for 46 yards.
That shouldn’t have been wholly surprising
because Bell has flashed
potential before. Undrafted out of UCLA, Bell started on the Bears’ practice squad but gained 72 yards on his first NFL carry in 2009.
The veterans might have better NFL credentials than he does, but Bell is easily the most proven special-teams player of the four.
‘‘The more you can do, the longer you’ll stick around,’’ Bell said. ‘‘If you’re just a running back, unless you’re Barry Sanders, it’s not going to pan out for you. But the more you can do, the better off your chances are.
‘‘I’d like to think of myself as a football player, not just a running back.’’