Friday, Sept. 9, 2011
Posted: 1:52 p.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
He hasnt practiced all week and was restricted to working on his injured calf muscle with medical staff on the sidelines before practice. So it came as no surprise that running back Marion Barber was confirmed as out of Sundays game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The loss of Barber elevates Kahlil Bell to Matt Fortes No. 2 after getting zero carries all of 2010, the year given to Chester Taylor as Fortes backup. Bell was the Bears leading rusher in preseason, playing primarily against backups on opposing defenses but netting 157 yards on 35 carries for an average of 4.5 yards and one TD.
I feel like Ive done the things necessary to prepare myself to be successful when I get an opportunity, Bell said. So Im here, and Im still loving it, and when I get a shot, hopefully I can produce.
Bell played in seven games in 2009, carried 40 times and turned in an impressive 5.5 yards per carry, aided in large part by his 72-yard TD run on his first-ever NFL carry.
Great opportunity, you have to be ready, coach Lovie Smith said. Kahlil has been in this position before. Hes a pro. Hes had a good camp. Theres a reason why hes on our football team right now, and if youre a backup, this is the time that you want. If your number is called, the team expects us to have a running back in that position that can get the job done.
Bell put himself through a grueling offseason regimen that included running repeated sprints up a long, steep hill in the tradition created by Walter Payton for Chicago running backs.
He established himself on special teams during the preseason, a clear advantage over Taylor apart from any salary or production differences. Whether he stays on special teams Sunday, however, is unlikely given his expanded role on offense.
The more you can do, the more valuable you are to any team or any organization, Bell said. I definitely want to be a running back, dont get me wrong. I love running the ball. Thats what I feel like what I was put here to do.
But at the same time, if theyre asking me to cover a kick or help in punt protection or whatever they ask me to do. Any time Im out there, Im going to give 100 percent.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.