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Bell in battle for third running back job

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 9, 2012 – 5:07 pm

Starter Matt Forte and backup Michael Bush are locked into the top two spots on the depth chart at running back, but there’s a battle brewing for the third position that figures to intensify.

With the Bears set to open the preseason Thursday night against the Broncos, Kahlil Bell is trying to hold off Armando Allen and perhaps Lorenzo Booker for what could be the final roster spot at running back.

Bell excelled late last season after injuries sidelined Forte and backup Marion Barber, rushing for 240 yards in the final three games including a career-high 121 yards in a Week 16 loss to the Packers.

After fumbling three times in the final two games last season, Bell dropped the ball again in the first training camp practice but has been sure-handed ever since.

“Kahlil is having a great camp,” said running backs coach Tim Spencer. “Every year that I’ve been here he’s always had a great camp. He only had one situation where he let the ball go early.

“He’s been doing a decent job, I’m staying on him because I’m being real conscious of the way he carries the ball because to me that’s the issue. But he gives great effort and he’s been having an excellent camp so I have only good things to say about him.”

Allen has impressed coaches in training camp as well. The 5-10, 190-pounder appeared in two games with the Bears last season, rushing for 48 yards on 15 carries.

“He does have the ability to catch the ball in the backfield and out wide in the slot, which is great for us because we can definitely utilize that because we do that with Matt,” Spencer said. “He kind of can fit in and do the same things. He’s good about knowing the assignments. He’s not as big as Matt. He can do some good things; he did last year when he got into a couple games.”

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