When you read the title of this article, I'd be willing to bet a peppermint that a memory of Walter Payton jumped into your head... But this reference is a modern-day version; albeit, entirely different circumstances.
WCG contributer, and long-time Chicago Bears insider, John "Moon" Mullin recently wrote about the offseason workout of a certain current Bears RB, one that you might not have expected: Kahlil Bell.
Bell was driving south on I-294 last March when he noticed a steep hill not far from an interstate exit. He made a note of it, got teammate Eddie Williams to join him, and devised a hill ritual vaguely reminiscent of what Walter Payton did to make himself Walter Payton.
"I ran hills all the time," Bell said, shaking his head at the thought. "That’s all I do, run hills, and do drills to keep my footwork right. That has a lot to do with my quick-twitch muscle fibers."
He and Williams developed a regimen: as many as 10 straight sprints up the steep slope, then running up the hill backwards, hard. They followed that with "hops," up the hill with hesitation jumps from one leg to the other up the hill.
"A lot of stuff that’s football-related, because so much of it is explosion," Bell said. "I figured if I can explode uphill, I can explode on the football field."
Many Bears fans were eager to enshrine Bell into the Hall of Fame after his first NFL carry, a 72-yarder in 2009 versus the Eagles... A game in which he had been promoted from the Practice Team to replace injured Garrett Wolfe. The chatter from Bears fans had been eerily similar of that of Cowboys fans for RB Julius Jones in 2004, when he came off the bench and rushed for over 800 yards in the final 8 games of the season.
Back to reality... The Bears current RB roster is starting to flesh itself out. Matt Forte will be the 2011 starter, barring any unforeseen circumstances, and Marion Barber is doing his part to replace Chester Taylor as the #2 guy. Moon points out that Bell's ST contributions may end up being the final factor in who sticks around for the third-string position. If I were a betting man, I'd probably go ahead and put my peppermint on Taylor exiting stage left.