Mike Bell was released by the Broncos and Texans the last two seasons before landing with the Saints late last season. Sharing that perspective with The Associated Press on Tuesday, the running back recalled his experience of gaining too much weight and becoming a cancer to his team in Denver before being released.
“I felt like I was betrayed and I felt like I didn’t even want to play anymore,” Bell recalled after practice Tuesday. “That’s why I gained all that weight — not only because I was playing fullback, but because I just didn’t care and almost just let myself go.
“I don’t blame them for cutting me; I would’ve cut me, too,” Bell added. “Nobody wants somebody that’s cancerous to the team with that attitude, someone that’s always complaining and saying that he deserves this or deserves that. In all actuality, I don’t think I deserved anything.”
Some strong — and self-aware — statements by Bell, who is trying to resurrect his career with the Saints.
Some people criticized the Saints for not selecting a running back in the 2009 NFL Draft to replace Deuce McAllister, but maybe coach Sean Payton was on to something when he suggested the remedy already was on the team’s roster. Bell joins a group that includes P.J. Hill, Olaniyi Sobomehin, Lynell Hamilton and Herb Donaldson vying for playing time behind Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.
Bell played sparingly last season, but he has made some people take notice with his performances of late, including a 100-yard outing against the Texans on Saturday in which he had a 46-yard touchdown run. NFL Network’s Solomon Wilcots called that game and took note of Bell’s display as the Saints try to improve their inside running game.
Maybe Bell has found a home, and a niche, in New Orleans.
“He runs hard,” Payton told reporters Tueday. “He’s a physical player. I think he’s had a real good offseason and camp. I’m encouraged. He’s in good shape, and his weight is where we want it to be. He runs with a pad level, sometimes upright, but nonetheless, certainly downhill. I was pleased for him. He’s done real well.”