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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Bell might be short-yardage back

By Jeff Dickerson

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice left open the possibility of the team using recently re-signed running back Kahlil Bell in short-yardage goal-line situations Sunday in Arizona.

"That will be a decision that Tim Spencer and I will talk about (Thursday) when we put short yardage and goal line in - not trying to be avoiding your question - but (Thursday), when we put that in, we'll look at the plays that we're going to run and if Kahlil is in that role and he's better suited for that role," Tice said. "But that's certainly a possibility."

With Michael Bush dressed last week but unable to play because of a rib injury that eventually landed him on injured reserve, the Bears gave starting tailback Matt Forte three cracks to score from inside the 5-yard line late in the third quarter of their 21-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers. But Forte failed to cross the goal line on either of the three attempts and the Bears had to eventually settle for a field goal.

The team has never seemed to embrace the idea of Forte serving as the goal-line back, opting instead to sign the likes of Bush, Marion Barber and Chester Taylor the past couple of years to handle those short-yardage situations. Bush excelled in the role, scoring a team-high five rushing touchdowns before injuries took their toll.

This marks Bell’s third stint on the Bears’ roster this season. He was waived in the preseason for reportedly refusing to take a pay cut, then was re-signed on Sept. 15 only to be cut again a month later. Bell spent time with the New York Jets before resurfacing in Chicago on Tuesday.

Although Bell has been known to fumble, he does have the reputation of being an aggressive runner who always displayed a knack for finding the end zone in live goal-line training camp drills. He failed to score a rushing touchdown in his three starts for the Bears last season but had a 25-yard touchdown reception against Seattle on Dec. 18, 2011. Bell ran for a career-high 121 yards on 23 carries against the Packers at the end of the 2011 season.