Chicago Sun-Times

Kahlil Bell says he wants to be a starter

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Never short on confidence, Bears running back Kahlil Bell isn't content being the backup to Matt Forte next season.

Asked if he's shown enough to be the No. 2 running back, Bell said, "I'm not interested in that.

"I never woke in the morning and said I'm going out there to be the No. 2 running back on any team that I've ever been on. My goal is to be a starter in this league, and that's what I'm shooting for. I'm not settling for anything less."

Bell, though, won't have a choice. He is a restricted free agent, which gives the Bears the opportunity to place a tender on him to at least get some draft pick compensation if he signs a contract elsewhere. But, the Bears also have the right to match any offer from an opponent.

Meanwhile, starter Matt Forte is an unrestricted free agent, but the Bears will likely use the franchise tag on him to prevent him from leaving. Veteran Marion Barber is under contract to the Bears.

Bell hasn't had anything handed to him, since he entered the league in 2009 as an undrafted free agent. He started with the Minnesota Vikings, but they released him that August. He's looking forward to proving the Vikings made a bad decision.

"For me, personally, it's trying to help our team get a win, get to .500, and get that bitter taste out of our mouth. It's another division game with Minnesota. Personally, I don't really like that team," he said. "I played up there for a short stint. It's not going to take much for me to be motivated for this game.

"Nobody likes to sit there and say they feel good about the team that let them go, but they obviously felt that I wasn't adequate enough to be a part of their organization, which is in my mind a blessing because I love it here in Chicago and I love being with the Bears. At the same time, hopefully, I can make some plays and show them otherwise."

Bell had 23 carries for 121 yards, as well as four catches for 38 yards. But, he did fumble the ball twice, although teammates recovered both.

"It was impressive what he did last night, to finally get your chance to be the guy, to be the man, and I thought he ran hard from start to finish," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He does have to hold onto the ball, but he made excellent cuts in the open field, ran with power, caught the ball out of the backfield, everything you want a good running back in the NFL to do, he did, on a national stage. You have to feel good about what he did in his first time as the bell cow."

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He had best reconsider. He played well since he got in, but Forte has a longer and more consistent performance record.

Who says Bell is talking about being a starter here? He said he wanted to be a starter, he didn't say he wants to start for the Bears. He knows they have Forte, like most he is looking for his payday and a chance to compete for a starting job. He will be a RFA in 2012.

Also with Bell we have no idea of his durability, it's easy to run hard in couple of games, it's a lot harder to be an every down starter for your career. Durability is always a major concern with backs. I think I would hold off on Bell as a starter, he runs hungry but that's because he hasn't been fed yet. I don't put a lot of stock in the Packers game performance, teams no film on him, the Packers are one of the worst defenses in the nfl, they have one of the worst run defenses in the nfl, and there best run defender was out. The Packers didn't key in on anyone on the Bears offense, instead they played to keep them from scoring and if the scrubs had not taken the field late and the Packers had not had such a huge lead while there starters sat and watched the Bears try ot make themselves look respectable against the Packer sbackups it probably remains a 10 or 13 point offensive performance from the Bears. The game was well in hand, the Packers took out the studs and put in the duds, who were not playing all that hard while the Bears played desperate pathetic football.

The Bears did not suddenly gel late and start to drive and score, the Packers went home early after they went up 4 scores. It was fun watching Rodgers on the sideline laughing and joking with 7 min left in the game. That must be nice, it breaks up the monotony of a long season, or a dull night. I always like getting off work early too.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on December 26, 2011 12:32 PM.

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