ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Offensive lineman Demetrius Bell, the first of the Bills' three seventh-round picks and estranged son of former NBA star Karl Malone, signed with Buffalo on Tuesday. Selected 219th overall out of Louisiana's Northwestern State in the draft in April, Bell started 22 consecutive games over his final two college seasons. He is considered a work-in-progress with the Bills after he got a late start in football.
The Bills also announced they have released rookie fullback Mike Viti, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent out of Army in April. Bell, listed at 6-foot-5 and 303 pounds, first played basketball at Northwestern before switching to football in August 2005. The Bills drafted him on the belief that Bell can gradually develop at the NFL level.
Bell has had very little contact with his father and was raised by his mother, Gloria Williams. Malone was a teenager when Bell was born. Bell was 18 when he first contacted his father, but Malone rebuffed his son's attempt to reach out to him.
Bell is the fourth of Buffalo's 10 draft picks to sign with the team before the start of training camp on July 25.