The Bears lost running back Matt Forte to the Jets in free agency following the 2015 season, opting to roll with rookie Jeremy Langford as the starter. Langford suffered an ankle injury in Week 3 against the Dallas Cowboys, and he is expected to miss four to six weeks.
Chicago doesn’t have any proven running back depth behind Langford. Ka’Deem Carey, who has just seven yards on three carries this season, is currently dealing with a hamstring injury. Rookie Jeremy Howard did rush for 92 yards on 13 carries against the Cowboys in Week 3, but Bell will lend some veteran depth to a position group that needs it.
Bell bounced around in his first two seasons, with stints on practice squads with the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints, before he landed with the Lions in 2011. He remained in Detroit through the 2015 season, rushing for 2,235 yards and 22 touchdowns from 2012 through 2015.
The Lions released Bell following the 2015 season. Detroit reportedly offered Bell an opportunity to stay with the team, but Bell declined. The Lions had Bell in for a workout last week after placing Ameer Abdullah on injured reserve, but opted to not sign him.
"The NFL is a crazy business," Bell said via MLive.com. "You never know. The Lions made me an offer. I thought I did what was best for my career. I ended up declining the offer."
With Jay Cutler’s status uncertain and so little depth at running back, Bell should have an opportunity to contribute in Chicago.