Bears waive running back Kahlil Bell

Posted by Matt Clapp | 8/23/2012 06:07:00 PM | , , ,

In a surprise move (at least with how quickly it happened), the Bears announced on Thursday night that they have waived running back Kahlil Bell:

According to the Chicago Tribune's Vaughn McClure, the Bears asked Bell to take a pay cut. The 25-year-old back declined to take the pay cut, and asked for his release:

Bell, who turns 26 in December, was in a battle with 23-year-old Armando Allen and 28-year-old Lorenzo Booker for the Bears' #3 spot on the depth chart behind Matt Forte and Michael Bush.

The 5'10", 190-pound Allen has gotten great reviews all camp, and would be a nice change of pace, third-down type of back behind Forte and Bush.

Booker, a 5'10", 200-pound veteran, has averaged 3.8 yards per carry in 61 career rushing attempts, and showed off some incredible moves on a 105-yard touchdown return against the Redskins on Saturday.

Bell showed off plenty of ability as a Bear, averaging 4.7 yards per carry over 119 career attempts. On Christmas Day of the 2011 season, he ran for 121 yards on 23 carries against the Packers at Lambeau Field.

So what was the problem for Bell? Fumbles. He fumbled three times in 98 touches in 2011. Compare that to Forte, who fumbled just twice in 255 touches, and Bush, who fumbled just three times in 293 touches.

And obviously money was the main issue in this instance, as the Bears don't want to pay a third-string running back $1.26 million when they already have a ton of money tied into Forte and Bush.

Now, look for Allen to win the job, unless Booker steals it away from him over these last two preseason games. Whatever the case, if the third-string running back has to make an impact on this team, something will have gone terribly wrong (injuries). Forte and Bush are arguably the top 1-2 running back punch in the NFL, and barring injury, will get all of the meaningful carries this season.

And look for Bell to have little trouble finding a job with another team soon. Best of luck to him.

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