It was what looked like a routine play in the preseason for Kansas City Chiefs TE Blake Bell, but the results of the play would lead to a hip flexor injury, surgery, and his subsequent placement on injured reserve at the onset of the 2022 NFL season. It was not how the veteran had envisioned his ninth NFL season would begin, but those are the cards he was dealt
Andy Reid said at the beginning of the season that there was a chance that Bell would be able to return, but he indicated it wouldn’t be for a while. Bell wouldn’t make his 2022 NFL season debut until Week 16 against the Seattle Seahawks. For the 31-year-old, it was a long road back with a lot of gradual progress.
“Hats off and credit to the strength staff in the training room and getting me right in there,” Bell told reporters after the Week 16 game. “But yeah, it was a long journey. I’ve been excited and each and every week I’ve been back, I’m trying to get better each week and kind of knock the rust off. But like I said, I’m just happy to be out there with my boys and back in the locker room.”
Week 17 against the Denver Broncos was just Bell’s second game back since his activation. He caught what was his first regular-season receiving touchdown and only the second receiving touchdown of his career.
The moment signified that Bell was, in fact, back. He took a hit to his lower body on the play as he tumbled into the endzone. Bell wasn’t so much nervous about the impact, but he did get a little nervous when the play went to replay review.
“100% but you know, that’s just me,” Bell said. “If I’ve got the ball in my hands like that maybe I should just dive over that guy next time (if) he’s going to just go down (low) like that. It was a great play and hats off to Pat (Mahomes) and the O-line and everyone doing their job but man, I’m glad to be back and it’s been great.”
Bell became the 11th player on the Chiefs’ offense with a receiving touchdown this season. He’s now becoming accustomed to what this iteration of the offense is all about — everyone has an opportunity to contribute.
“Absolutely,” Bell said. “If you’re on that field, rather it’s run or pass, you just have no idea (what’s going to happen). But anytime you run a route, you’ve got to be ready because you’ve got 15 (Patrick Mahomes) and you never know what happens with him.”