GREEN BAY - The Packers have added a versatile veteran to their offensive line with the signing of Byron Bell, the team announced Wednesday.
Bell, 29, has played for three teams (Carolina, Tennessee and Dallas) during his first seven NFL seasons and started 74 of the 90 regular-season games in which he’s played.
The 6-foot-5, 320-pound offensive lineman saw action in 12 games for the Cowboys this past year and made two spot starts at left tackle for Tyron Smith.
Here are five things to know about the Packers’ new addition:
1. Bell is an undrafted success story
Bell started 36 of the 37 games he played at New Mexico from (2007-10), including 24 starts at left tackle during his final two seasons. Yet, he went undrafted during a 2011 NFL Draft that saw 40 offensive linemen get selected. Bell signed with the Panthers as a college free agent. He not only made Carolina’s 53-man roster, but also started 12 of 16 games at right tackle as a rookie.
2. He’s no stranger to overcoming adversity
Bell lost his 8-year-old adopted brother during a house fire caused by an electric problem at his family home near the end of Bell’s freshman season at New Mexico. He considered transferring to be closer to home in Greenville, Texas, but opted to stay in Albuquerque and dedicate his football career to his brother’s memory. Bell remains active with the American Fire Cross and its efforts to install free smoke detectors in the Dallas metro area.
3. He has experience at both guard and tackle
Bell started his first three seasons at right tackle for Carolina before switching to left tackle in 2014. He started all 16 games for Tennessee in 2015 after signing with the Titans as an unrestricted free agent, making seven starts at left guard, eight starts at right tackle and one start at left tackle.
4. He made his first career start against Green Bay
Bell’s first NFL start came against the Packers during Week 2 of the 2011 season. He started in place of an injured Jeff Otah, making two spot starts against Green Bay and Atlanta before stepping in permanently in Week 7 after Otah was placed on injured reserve.
5. Bell visited with the Packers last offseason
After sustaining a season-ending ankle injury during the offseason program in 2016, Bell took a free-agent visit with the Packers in March 2017. He later signed with the Cowboys, seeing action in 12 games last season.