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Eagles Fortify Tackle Spot With Bell

Demetress Bell is no stranger to stepping in for Jason Peters.

After the Eagles traded for the All-Pro Peters in 2009, Bell was the opening day starter at left tackle for the Buffalo Bills.

Well, Bell will fill Peters' role once again. The Eagles and the free agent offensive tackle agreed to terms on a five-year contract Wednesday. The 6-5, 311-pound Bell visited Philadelphia over the weekend and chose the Eagles over a slew of other teams including the Steelers and Packers, who reportedly had interest in the four-year veteran. Bell will meet the media on Thursday and we will broadcast a special edition of Eagles Live! beginning at 10 AM.

"Demetress was one of the top free agent offensive linemen available this year and we are happy to be able to add him to our squad," said head coach Andy Reid in a statement. "We had a chance to meet him over the weekend and study him extensively on tape and we came away quite impressed with what we saw and heard. He's a great athlete."

Peters ruptured his Achilles tendon last week while training in Texas. Peters underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to repair the tendon, but there is no timetable for his return. The Eagles moved aggressively to fill Peters' spot and with Bell in the fold, the Eagles get an athletic, experienced tackle who has started 30 career games at left tackle in his career.

"Demetress is a guy we've followed since he joined the league," said general manager Howie Roseman in a statement. "He's a big, athletic left tackle and he has quite a few games of experience under his belt with Buffalo. He'll excel with our style of play on the offensive line."

A seventh-round draft choice of Buffalo in 2008, Bell started all 16 contests in 2010. The 27-year-old Bell started six games with the Bills in 2011 as he dealt with a shoulder injury, but the team amassed a 4-2 record in those outings.

Bell had spelled his first name Demetrius his entire life, but recently found out that the correct spelling is Demetress. That is the reason for the change of spelling for his first name.

The Summerfield, La., native originally attended Northwestern State on a basketball scholarship but after redshirting as a freshman, he decided to join the football team as a defensive end. Prior to that point, Bell had never played organized football because his high school (Summerfield) did not carry a team.

He switched to offensive tackle a year later and went on to record 22 consecutive starts in his final two seasons, earning All-America, All-Southland Conference, and All-Louisiana honors as a senior and team captain in 2007. In addition, Bell helped the basketball team to a Southland Conference East Division championship in 2006.

Bell was an all-state basketball standout at Summerfield High School, where he averaged 17.8 points and 10.2 rebounds.

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