BREAKING: Source tells us the Chiefs have just signed Wichita native, and former Bishop Carroll star Blake Bell. #KWCH12— Jacob Albracht (@KWCHJacob) April 2, 2019
Bell, 27, is a native of Wichita, and played his college ball at Oklahoma. A fourth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the 2015 NFL Draft, he played for the 49ers for two seasons before spending a season with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, and the Jaguars in 2018.
His NFL stats are not particularly impressive — just 30 receptions for 357 yards, and only 11 starts in 50 NFL games during his four seasons in the league.
But like Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce, Bell is big — 6-foot-6 and 252 pounds. Also, like Kelce, Bell was a college quarterback before becoming a tight end. Through his junior year with the Sooners, he completed 150 passes on 253 attempts for 1763 yards, 12 touchdowns and only six interceptions — good for a passer rating of 128.7. He also rushed for 24 touchdowns as a quarterback before converting to tight end his senior year.
Reporters who are familiar with Oklahoma football from that period — including Kansas City Star Chiefs beat reporter Brooke Pryor — know Bell by a different moniker: The Belldozer.
Can confirm the Chiefs have signed FA TE Blake Bell. @KWCHJacob had it first.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) April 2, 2019
The Belldozer is coming to KC.
But you are probably more familiar with his uncle Mike Bell — his father’s twin brother — who started 100 games at defensive end for the Chiefs from 1979 through 1991.
With the departure of Demetrius Harris to the Cleveland Browns in free agency, this move is meant to have another tight end option on the roster to go along with Deon Yelder and David Wells. Unless another tight end appears on the roster between now and training camp (which seems likely) those three will be competing for the No. 2 position on the final roster.
Bell’s experience as a college quarterback could be playing a role in this signing. As our Aly Trost noted in her feature story on Kelce in these pages last week, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes considers Kelce’s experience as a college quarterback a big advantage.
“He’s another QB on the field,” Mahomes said of Kelce’s in-game presence and ability during 2018’s training camp. “He really knows his offense, he knows what he needs to get open and he knows what he needs to do to get other people open — I think that’s a really underrated aspect of his game. He knows how to move defenders in order to get other people open and he’s someone I know that will be in the right spot whenever I need him to be.”
Additional Tuesday transaction news
- The Chiefs have also retained exclusive rights free agent wide receiver Marcus Kemp, who officially signed his tender on Tuesday.