Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Lions already bolstering backfield
By Kevin Seifert
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Greetings from Detroit Lions training camp, where I arrived to find the team has responded aggressively to running back Mikel Leshoure's season-ending injury. The Lions signed free agent running backs Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell, and I believe both of them will be at the facility Tuesday.
At 225 pounds, Bell fits the profile of the type of back the Lions hoped to get from Leshoure this season. He has played for four other NFL teams, most recently the Cleveland Browns last season. Harrison, meanwhile, is a Kalamazoo, Mich., native who spent parts of five seasons with the Browns before he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles -- in return for Bell, as serendipity turns out.
Both players are 28 and have been looking for a job since the end of the lockout. Some of you might have hoped the Lions would seek out a higher-profile name, perhaps Clinton Portis or Tiki Barber. But I wouldn't necessarily think the Lions are done looking for replacements. It could be a month-long process before they find the player they want to pair with Jahvid Best.
And that, in all reality, is the key point to take from these moves. The Lions aren't prepared to move forward with Best as their sole running back, especially with Maurice Morris recovering from a fractured hand. This Lions built their offense around the idea of a 1-2 backfield punch, and I think they're going to spend at least some time this summer finding out if they can still do that. More in a bit.