MIKE BELL CAN always watch the tape.
Bell, the free-agent signee who just completed a sweltering week of OTAs, is a running back who won the Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints a little less than 4 months ago. The Saints shocked the Colts on Feb. 7. Three weeks later, Bell became a restricted free agent, and on March 17 he signed an offer sheet with the Eagles that New Orleans ultimately declined to match.
Long time to reach the pinnacle, not much time to enjoy it. Now Bell comes to work every day at NovaCare, where, as Eagles fans don't need to be reminded, there are no Lombardi trophies on display. This city - still hopeful of a Stanley Cup parade - is not basking in the afterglow of Super Bowl XLIV. And neither is Bell.
His new teammates don't often ask about the championship, he said.
"I think they're just more concerned about getting one," he said. "A lot of the guys are more, 'What did it take?' and I see a lot of the same things here that I saw there. It's definitely achievable."
Yesterday, Bell was wearing the black plastic "Finish Strong" wristband, made famous in the playoffs after Saints quarterback Drew Brees adopted the title of a popular motivational text as his team's credo.
"I still wear the band Drew gave us, just to keep it in my head, 'Finish Strong.' That's what we did last year," he said. "It's a constant reminder for me as an individual, and hopefully, it can rub off on the team."
Bell knows he'll eventually have a ring as a reminder, as well, and he plans to brandish it at every opportunity. And then there is the video he shot, at the end of New Orleans' 31-17 triumph.
"Coach [Sean] Payton said that when you win, they don't waste any time getting the other team off the field," Bell recalled. "I thought it was a little bit overexaggerated, the way he said it. Soon as that game ended, lo and behold, glitter started falling, the stage started getting built.
"I remember just running into the locker room and getting my [video] camera as soon as I saw the stuff start falling. There was like 3 seconds left in the game, they'd already let the confetti go. I just shot everything . . . As I was coming out of the locker room, I got the [Colts] going in. I got their faces, I got the excitement on my team. I'm just walking around, I see this red carpet, and I'm just on it, not really paying attention, and next thing you know, I see the trophy. I didn't know they were about to present the trophy. I'm on TV [in the background]."
Bell was the only restricted free agent in the NFL this year to sign an offer sheet and then change teams, getting a 1-year deal for $1.7 million. With the Saints, he was a between-the-tackles specialist. Way back in his rookie year of 2006, with Denver, Bell caught 20 passes for 158 yards, but he hasn't really been used the way the Eagles use their backs since then. He acknowledged when he signed that he knew little about blitz pickup, something Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush usually were on the field for with the Saints.
The last few days of this Eagles OTA, which continues Monday, LeSean McCoy has been sidelined with an ankle "tweak," and Bell has been practicing with the first team.
"I'm not going to put any limitations on myself," he said, when asked if he had a sense yet of how his role here might or might not be different. "I've allowed other people to do that in the past, past teams I've been on. I almost bought into it, you know what I mean? Almost accepting what they offered me. I don't think anybody wants to accept a role they really don't want. I'm just going to bust my butt and try to do the best at everything I can, and continue to do the best, regardless of what they have me do."
Bell, listed at 6-foot, 225, said he has slimmed down to 218. He said he was glad to get the first-team work, though he is a big booster of McCoy, who set a team rookie record with 637 rushing yards last season.
"He's 21, [almost] 22 years old, but he's a pro," Bell said of McCoy. "You guys should expect a lot of things from him - he's worked hard in the offseason . . . He's the man. I like watching him run."
Fullback Leonard Weaver said: "[Bell] and McCoy back there is going to be a great duo. Maybe sprinkle me in a little bit. Those guys are going to be the workhorses."
Weaver likes what he has seen of Bell, he said.
"I think he's doing great out there. He's learning very fast," Weaver said. "He's able to come out and be explosive and his ability is taking over without [Bell] having to think about what he has to do.
"It's tough when you haven't been in a West Coast offense. It makes it difficult sometimes. But he came in early, right away after the Super Bowl. He got in the playbook, and has been able to perform, so he looks great out there."
Eagles coach Andy Reid updated the injury situation as the team broke for the weekend. The current camp resumes Monday and ends Thursday.
On left guard Todd Herremans, who visited Thursday with Charlotte, N.C., foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson:
"Todd Herremans, he did go down to the specialist, had his foot checked out. It's not the doctor who did his surgery [Steven Raikin]; however, it is the first doctor he saw [when Herremans injured his foot and was contemplating surgery last August]. He checked it out, there's no problems, he's fine to practice," Reid said. "He's got a little pain in the arch, and we've got to get that settled down. His pain [last year] was on top of his foot, this is on the bottom and it's more muscular than anything else.
"We'll just see how he does here. There's a chance he misses next week, but he'll be back and ready for training camp if he does."
Reid said running back LeSean McCoy (ankle) "is doing all right," and middle linebacker Stewart Bradley (calf) "has a cramp in his calf," as Bradley indicated Thursday.
Reid said McCoy and Bradley might or might not participate in the final 4 days of OTAs, depending on how they feel.
The Eagles announced four more rookie signings, meaning five of their 13 draftees are under contract. The next guy they sign, they'll have to cut someone, since they have 86 players in camp and can only have 80 under contract. Fourth-round cornerback Trevard Lindley and three seventh-rounders - linebacker Jamar Chaney, defensive tackle Jeff Owens and safety Kurt Coleman - agreed to terms, each on 4-year contracts. The team previously announced the signing of sixth-round running back Charles Scott . . . Ex-Eagle and Philadelphia native Kyle Eckel signed with the Broncos yesterday.
Daily News sports writer Tyler Dunne contributed to this report.
For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' Eagles blog, Eagletarian, at www.eagletarian.com.