NFL: Saints won’t match Eagles’ offer to Bell
By ROB MAADDI
AP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA — Mike Bell is joining the Philadelphia Eagles.
A spokesman for the New Orleans Saints said the team will not match Philadelphia’s offer to the restricted free-agent running back.
The Saints had until midnight Tuesday to match the Eagles’ one-year offer, but vice president of communications Greg Bensel told The Associated Press in an e-mail the team would not.
Bell had 654 yards rushing and five touchdowns last season for the Super Bowl champion Saints. He averaged 3.8 yards per carry.
The Eagles will not owe New Orleans any compensation for Bell.
Bell, who turns 27 next month, will join LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia’s backfield. Former All-Pro Brian Westbrook was released last month.
Signed as undrafted free agent by Denver in 2006, Bell ran for 677 yards and eight TDs as a rookie. He was switched to fullback the following season and his playing time plummeted. The Broncos released Bell in July 2008 and he was invited to training camp by Houston, but pulled his hamstring and was waived a few weeks later.
The Saints signed Bell during the ’08 season, but he played sparingly with Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas and Deuce McAllister getting most of the work that season.
In last season’s opener, Bell ran for a career-high 143 yards while working as Bush’s backup against the Detroit Lions. He ran for 75 or more yards three more times during the year.