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August 13, 2013

OT Demetress Bell came in 'overweight and out of shape,' Garrett says, but still has a chance to compete for a spot

Veteran tackle Demetress Bell got into practice this week for the Cowboys. Finally.

The problem?

“To be honest with you, he was overweight and out of shape,” coach Jason Garrett said.

The Cowboys signed Bell, a former starter for the Buffalo Bills and a reserve last year with the Philadelphia Eagles, off the street at the start of training camp.

“He’s just been a good player,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s a guy we talked a lot about before the draft, and he went elsewhere and has had a relatively productive career so far.”

Bell started 16 games for the Bills in 2010 after being their seventh-round pick in 2008. But he didn’t play in 2011, then went to Philadelphia last year, where he played in nine games, with four starts.

“He’s played in some games, so he’s a guy – those positions are really of great value,” Garrett said. “If you’re a tackle in the National Football League, and you’re big and long and you can pass-protect, you can be a value to a football team. He was on the street, he was someone we knew about and we brought him in. To be honest with you, he was overweight and out of shape. We still thought it was worth bringing him in here and giving him a chance to get himself in shape. He’s been working hard the last couple of weeks and it was good to see him out on the practice field, in a uniform, helmet, shoulder pads and football pads.”

The Cowboys also got reserve tackle Jermey Parnell back into practice this week, giving them more backup options besides Edwin Coughman and Darrion Weems with three preseason games to go.

“You just need tackles. You do. You need linemen,” Garrett said. “Oftentimes, those guys will get nicked up, and before you know it, you’re playing with a third or fourth guy. You want to be able to function as an offense. You want to be as good as you can be at all positions, but particularly up front. So we saw some value there, to create some competition on your football team for a roster spot. And that’s still very much available.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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