Bears coach Lovie Smith had a simple explanation for why his club signed veteran running back Michael Bush.
It wasn't to send a message to Matt Forte, and it wasn't to discourage Kahlil Bell.
"I feel comfortable with Kahlil in the No. 2 role," Smith said. "But wouldn't we even be stronger, with Kahlil still here, and Michael Bush? It's just about the strength in the numbers, as much as anything.
"Look at what Kahlil Bell has done," Smith said. "When no one else wanted Kahlil Bell, we brought him into our place. We've played him, and we've kept him for a reason. The combination of Matt Forte and Kahlil Bell is good. But Matt Forte, Kahlil Bell and Michael Bush is even better."
Smith, though, expressed gratitude for Marion Barber, who retired after his one and only season with the Bears. Barber did several positive things last season, but he had two key gaffes in the Bears loss in Denver.
"First off, Marion Barber was great for our football team," Smith said. "Didn't know anything about him. But he came in and did everything I wanted him to be. It was hard to talk to him about calling quits and moving on with the next phase of his life. But as far as the role Michael is going into, it's a similar role. But Michael brings even more."
Smith said Bush is a complete back, one capable of running between the tackles, outside of the tackles, catching passes out of the backfield, blocking and even making people miss.
"You're trying to improve your ball club. That's what we're trying to do. We lost a good player in Marion Barber, and we tried to replace him with a good player, and we did that with Michael Bush," Smith said.
Smith did say Bell needs to protect the football better.
"We're concerned. Kahlil can't fumble the ball that much, as well as he played, especially in that Green Bay game. He put the ball on the ground twice," Smith said. "You can't do that. And he knows that. That's something for him to work on. There's a process you go through."