All of a sudden, Kahlil Bell could be pretty important for the Green Bay Packers


Running back

Kahlil Bell

(21) may play a role in the Packers division title game against the Chicago Bears – a team he has played most of his career. Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Take a trip back three weeks when the Green Bay Packers hosted the Atlanta Falcons … Atlanta had just scored on a freak deflected pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the first half. The touchdown placed the Packers on the short end of a 21-10 halftime score.

The fan base booed the team as they left the field for the warmth of the locker room, but missed in all the drama was the picture of Eddie Lacy limping off the field. On the final play of the half – one that many felt should have been a kneel-down – Lacy turned his right ankle on a cut to evade a tackle. That one yard gain was not worth a nagging ankle injury.

Lacy has played in the last two games, practicing little during the week for rehab on the ankle. Last week, he left the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth quarter after once again aggravating the ankle. We won’t know until tomorrow (Thursday) the extent of Lacy’s injury. My guess is it was a bit more than a “tweek” to the ankle. The tough guy has played hard, despite the injury – that is until the fourth quarter last week when the injury was severe enough to hold him out.

James Starks

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

That said, the Packers could go into the NFC North Division title game Sunday against the Chicago Bears with James Starks as a starter and the backup, I’m assuming, Kahlil Bell …

Yeah, Bell is that guy they picked up Dec. 3 to add depth at the running back position … a move that now looks to be useful. Bell, the former Bear, is one turned ankle away from playing time. With Jonathan Franklin on IR and the uncertainty of Lacy’s situation, Bell may play some type of role in the Packers game plan come Sunday. I don’t see them playing Starks like they do Lacy, so the guy behind him becomes all the more valuable.

The story behind Bell’s role becomes more interesting because it was Christmas Day two years ago that Bell had the best day of his career while with the Bears. In 26 regular season games, Bell’s 121 yards on 23 carries, and four receptions for 38 yards was his best performance – ever. Of course, it came against the Packers.

Of his 26 career games, 23 of them have come with the Bears.

Bell had two stints with the Bears sandwiched around a training camp with the New York Jets. He was released at the end of training camp along with two other players. The three were cut to make room for three player signings by the Jets – one of those signings was with former Packer RB Alex Green.

When the Packers signed Bell, there was some talk that he may contribute to the kick return game. To date, that hasn’t occurred. To date, nothing’s occurred as a member of the Packers. He’s been active the past two weeks, but I’d be hard pressed to say that I saw him on the field. He wears #22, just so you know.

Depending on Lacy’s status, we may be rooting for the former Bear and relative unknown to contribute.

He has a career rushing average of 4.3 yards on a total of 148 carries.

He might be asked this week to add to those statistics … this time for the good guys.