Mike Bell might not fit perfectly into the Eagles' offense or their template for a running back. But he's very good at what he does and the things that maybe he hasn't done much of, and the Eagles need him to do, he says he can do.
"I think that me catching the ball will open it up for me in the run game," said Bell, who wasn't asked to catch the ball much in New Orleans. "And I can catch the ball if you go back and watch the tapes."
Of course, Bell isn't exactly an Eagle yet. He signed their offer sheet yesterday, but the Saints have six days remaining to match the Eagles' one-year, $1.7 million deal. Bell, who said he had no preference for either team, had no idea which way his old team was leaning.
"It does make it a strange and long week, but I feel like I'm in a perfect situation because both teams are Super Bowl-caliber teams," Bell said.
The Eagles would likely asked Bell to be a complement to LeSean McCoy, who is entering his second season. Bell, who split time with Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas last season, said he wasn't taking anything for granted.
"I'm going to establish myself on special teams and show the coach that I can special teams," Bell said. "I'm going to work my way in. ... I'm definitely not trying to come here and cause no type of controversy."
At 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, Bell is more of a plow-straight-ahead runner. He ran for 654 yards on 172 carries (3.8 average) and five rushing touchdowns. He said he could be that short-yardage back the Eagles have lacked in recent years.
"I've been successful in past," Bell said. "If that's an area they need I'm definitely the type of guy that's a physical runner that can get the job done."
Bell wasn't asked to block much in New Orleans because Bush and Pierre were usually on the field in passing downs. He said picking up the blitz is something he believes he can do.
The Eagles saw first-hand what kind of runner Bell can be. In week 2 last season, he ran for 86 yards on 17 carries and scored a touchdown on the ground. He remembers the game mostly because he got injured when an Eagles defender fell on his leg. He sprained his knee and missed the next two games.
"My season was never really the same after that," Bell said.
Bell's numbers declined as the season wore on. In the Super Bowl, he gained some notoriety when he slipped just shy of the goal line from one yard out. Saints coach Sean Payton yelled at Bell on the sidelines for not having the proper cleats on and it was caught on camera. You can see on youtube.
"I've never worn screw-in cleats," Bell said. "What happened was I cut off my inside foot. If you cut off your inside foot on bad turf you're going to slip everytime. ... But that doesn't mean that slipping is acceptable, because it's not, especially in the Super Bowl and on the one-yard line."