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Detroit Lions release hometown hero Joique Bell

The Detroit Lions are cutting ties with a hometown hero.

The team released veteran running back Joique Bell on Tuesday. Bell starred at Wayne State University in Detroit prior to a four-year run with the Lions.

An effective role player from 2012 through 2014, Bell reached his ceiling as a viable between-the-tackles hammer with excellent pass-catching ability, playing sidekick to Mikel Leshoure and Reggie Bush.

His career took a sharp downhill turn in 2015, though, leaving his speed on the operating table after three offseason surgeries. One of the NFL's slowest backs, Bell averaged an anemic 3.45 yards on 90 carries last season.

Undrafted out of a D-II school, Bell extracted the most out of his limited physical gifts. Although he turns 30 in August, it's reasonable to believe he could catch on elsewhere as a well-rounded backup should he regain a semblance of the burst he lost to injuries and wear and tear.

Last year's Lions offense was historically unbalanced in favor of the pass. With Bell out of the picture, new general manager Bob Quinn will make it a priority to add physicality in the form of power complements to elusive pass-catching specialist Theo Riddick, promising second-year back Ameer Abdullah and receiving tight end Eric Ebron.

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