There is a 30-year old unemployed former Broncos running back out there who is hoping for another shot in Denver, and it's not Clinton Portis.
The back, Tatum Bell. Having played in an up and down career, Bell has stayed active and is looking for a second, or rather, third chance with the Broncos. Drafted by Mike Shanahan in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft, Bell played his collegiate ball at Oklahoma State.
He would go on to become running back Mike Anderson's running mate in Denver's formerly dominating rushing attack. In his first three years with the team, Bell rushed for over 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was then traded to the Detroit Lions where he played the 2007 season before being released after the season.
The next season, the Broncos went through running backs like tissues and Shanahan re-signed Bell in November. Prior to rejoining the Broncos, Bell was selling cell phones in a mall. Starting the final three games of the season, Tatum rushed for 249 yards off 44 carries (with an impressive 5.7 yards-per carry average) and scored two touchdowns. He was not retained after the season, however, and once again found himself out of a job.
That was not the end of his professional football career; the Florida Tuskers (of the United Football League) were interested in his services. Bell signed with the team and set a UFL record for rushing yards in a single game (365) in 2009. Then he was again waived last August.
He's been pushed aside many times over the course of his career yet never quit fighting for another chance and he isn't about to now. On Wednesday, Bell tweeted the Broncos Vice President of Football Operations John Elway. His message? "Just give me a look."
"John I just need a look. A full off season let me compete. I'm good for that, John."
That's pretty desperate, yes, but sincere, yes again. Anyone who is humble enough to ask for a tryout over twitter is no doubt ready to give everything he has to compete for a roster spot in Training Camp.
The Broncos running back situation isn't yet set in stone, with the Broncos looking for a running mate for Knowshon Moreno, the number two spot is up for grabs. Running back Correll Buckhalter will be turning 33 at the start of next season, and Laurence Maroney was not among the five players that were tendered on Wednesday, a sign that neither backs will be returning. That leaves former practice squad running back Lance Ball, LenDale White (who is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon), and Moreno. It has also been presumed that the Broncos will pursue free agent DeAngelo Williams, who Coach John Fox drafted in Carolina.
At any rate, Bell just wants another shot. The question is, will the Broncos give him one?