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With rookies and quarterbacks reporting on Friday for training camp, the Cleveland Browns got some discouraging news. Rookie WR David Bell will be placed on the physically unable to perform list as camp opens. Bell has an issue with a foot that kept him from passing his physical.
The good news for the Browns is that PUP at this time of the year doesn’t have the same restrictions as during the season. Whenever Bell passes his physical is when he can return to practice.
The bad news for Cleveland is that Bell was expected to have a big role as a rookie and foot issues can be problematic in multiple ways.
Bell was expected to step in as an important part of the team’s slot receiver rotation. With great route running and great hands, Bell is going to be given a chance to replace WR Jarvis Landry. It is likely he still gets that chance but how long he misses camp could greatly diminish his impact as a rookie.
With Bell missing time, WR/KR/PR Jakeem Grant and WR Amari Cooper will likely get most of the time in the slot. Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz are more straight line, outside receivers so far in their careers.
Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders and Danny Amendola are three of the veteran slot receiver options available on the market if Bell’s injury lingers.
As the foundations of body movements for football players, foot injuries can create systematic issues for players and require caution. A problem that low on the body can create impact and compensation issues up the leg and back.
Last year, Tony Fields II dealt with a foot issue and ended up playing in just 10 games and producing just two tackles.
Hopefully, Cleveland gets Bell back quickly and up to speed with no lingering issues but, given his expected role, a frustrating start to camp.