Demetress Bell signed with the Eagles to be their new starting left tackle after their old staring left tackle, Jason Peters, suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon. For Bell, that means the opportunity to sign with the Eagles came at the expense of someone he considers a dear friend.
Bell and Peters were teammates in Buffalo during Bell’s rookie year, and he said today that Peters served as his mentor.
“Jason was like a big brother,” Bell said. “Jason took me in, showed me the dos and don’ts, and me and him have a good relationship because of that.”
After Peters got hurt and likely lost for the season, Bell said the two of them talked and he’s delighted that he can help the Eagles in Peters’ absence.
“He was one of the reasons I came here,” Bell said. “He told me whatever I need, just come to him. Me and Jason is real close. I’m sure whatever I need, whatever I want, I’ll just talk to him. I don’t think I’m trying to fill his shoes, I think I’m trying to do my own thing, but as far as taking over that position and doing what I have to do, of course, I’ve got [offensive line coach Howard Mudd] and a five-time Pro Bowler [Peters], what other coaching do I need?”
Of course, a year from now, once Peters is healthy, Bell and Peters may become competitors for the starting left tackle position in Philadelphia, and one of them could lose his job to the other one. Bell says that won’t be a problem.
“I’m sure it won’t be awkward at all,” Bell said. “This is a business, I understand that and I know he understands that. Whatever happens . . . I’m sure we’ll be friends at the end of the day.”
Bell also cleared up the spelling of his first name. Although he had previously been listed by the Bills and the NFL as “Demetrius Bell,” Bell said “Demetress” is on his birth certificate and he pronounces his name “duh-ME-tress.” He said he took the opportunity of having a new team to let everyone know the correct spelling and pronunciation of his name.
Some reporters wrote that Bell had changed his name, and Bell joked with them, “You all are making me feel like Chad Ochocinco.”