Allen Park – What had been an interesting experiment last season may have turned into a full-time position switch for Detroit Lions player Nick Bellore.
A linebacker in college and his first seven NFL seasons, Bellore is currently listed as a fullback on the Lions’ roster and he's been exclusively working with the team's offense.
“I mean, we’ll see where he goes as we go through the process right now,” coach Matt Patricia said. “He’ll get some work with the offense and we’ll see how it goes from there.”
Bellore first experimented with working at fullback while with the New York Jets from 2011-14, but never actually saw playing time in the role. But after the Lions eliminated the fullback position from the roster last season, the team tried a couple different options before settling on Bellore as the best option, using him on 13 offensive snaps.
He even managed to score a touchdown, catching a one-yard TD against the Baltimore Ravens last December.
“I was excited for any opportunity to get on the field, learn something new,” Bellore said. “I’m in for that and I’m here to help any way I can.”
The transition to offense from defense hasn’t been seamless, but there is some carryover from playing linebacker.
“There’s a lot of carryover,” he said. “You’re kind of in the same attacking position. The only difference is you’re not moving backwards – or at least I hope not. It’s mostly kind of mirroring what linebackers do. It’s not the easiest transition. I’m learning, day by day, offensive terminology and all that stuff. It takes time, but I’ve got great coaches.”
Bellore, who played for Central Michigan, re-signed with the Lions as a free agent this offseason, a one-year deal for $1,005,000. But with just $90,000 guaranteed, a roster spot was far from assured.
The team brought in some additional competition for the fullback job this offseason, selecting San Diego State’s Nick Bawden in the seventh round of the draft. A converted quarterback, he blocked ahead of a 2,000-yard rusher each of the past two years.
Bawden suffered a leg injury during Wednesday’s practice and was taken inside the facility to be evaluated. There was no immediate comment on the injury, but the fear is a torn ACL, according to the NFL Network.