North Notes: Bell, Bengals, Pack, Bears, Lions

While it appears the Steelers will retain impending free agent running back Le’Veon Bell beyond this season, whether via the franchise tag or a long-term deal, the 24-year-old said Friday that his contract isn’t a concern at the moment. “I haven’t even been paying attention to that. I’m just playing football,” Bell stated regarding his future (via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com). Led by Bell’s 298 total yards (262 rushing, 36 receiving) and three touchdowns, the Steelers knocked off Buffalo, 27-20, last Sunday to improve to an AFC North-leading 8-5.

More from the NFL’s North divisions:

  • Bengals receiver A.J. Green is targeting a Dec. 24 return from a hamstring injury, a source told Bob Holzman of ESPN. The five-time Pro Bowler hasn’t played since Nov. 20, and even though the 5-7-1 Bengals are basically out of the playoff hunt, he has vowed to come back this season.
  • Packers running back James Starks was in a car crash Monday and is now in the concussion protocol, coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Thursday (link via NFL.com’s Marc Sessler). It sounds like Starks is not in any kind of medical danger, but his status for this week is in question. It’s not clear whether he will be able to go in Week 16 or 17.
  • Bears wideout Marquess Wilson fractured his left foot in practice Friday for the third time since 2015, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. Head coach John Fox is unsure if Wilson will need surgery, but the Bears are likely to place him on injured reserve prior to Sunday’s game against Green Bay. This injury could potentially end Wilson’s tenure with the Bears, as the 2013 seventh-round pick will be a free agent in the offseason. The 24-year-old has hauled in nine passes for 160 yards and a touchdown this season, and has amassed 56 receptions and three scores in 31 career games.
  • Lions practice squad linebacker Steve Longa is now being paid an active roster rate, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). That could indicate another team tried to sign Longa away from Detroit.
  • The Lions worked out two defensive backs, Tony Burnett and Forrest Hightower, and linebacker Deon Lacey this week, Justin Rogers of The Detroit News tweets.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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4 comments on “North Notes: Bell, Bengals, Pack, Bears, Lions

  1. leefieux

    Just franchise Bell until he proves that he can stay away from the drug.

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    • davE

      Isn’t there a rule that you can only franchise a guy once (or at least not consecutively)?

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      • lyle

        Nope, player can franchised up to 3 times in a row. E

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  2. HereComeThePhillies2018

    Crazy game against Buffalo. Hopefully they win the AFC North! 😉

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