S enior receiver Kenny Bell quit the team Tuesday following a handful of Tweets indicating a need to focus on his children. Then later in the day at his press conference, Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Bell would return Wednesday following what he called a ‘personal day’ to iron out some personal things in his life.

Bell apparently agreed.

Bell returns tweet 2

Bell returns tweet

“He came and we had a discussion,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban explained. “There were some personal things he had to iron out and I think he talked to his family about it. I talked to his mom. And we talked again today.

“I want Kenny to be happy. I would love for him to be a part of the team if he can be happy doing that relative to any other personal responsibilities that he has.”

Alabama receiver Kenny Bell

Bell was a surprise, signing day commitment to Alabama in 2009 from Rayville, Louisiana in a time LSU had an even firmer grip on the Red Stick state than they do now. He redshirted at a freshman, played sparingly in 2010, then saw expanded roles in 2011 and 2012, catching 17 passes each of the past two seasons with 255 and 431 yards per, respectively.

Bell’s career path took a turn however after a broken leg sustained against Auburn in last year’s 49-0 blowout. He would miss the season’s final two, biggest games in the SEC Championship and BCS title game. Following an offseason of rehabilitation, he was hopeful for this his final season at the Capstone.

“They put me through all this good rehab to get my legs 100 percent and get me where I had to be,” Bell said in an interview over the summer. “Rehab’s not all that fun, but in order for me to get out here on the field with my teammates and have a stellar senior season, I took it upon and worked hard in the training room.”

Bell was targeted with an overthrown deep ball in last Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech, but did not catch a pass. He is listed as the co-starter with fellow senior Kevin Norwood at Z receiver.

For the common fan, who lives, breathes and sleeps Alabama football, thinking about getting to play at Alabama is a dream, and the very idea a player would want to step away is the furthest thing from one’s mind.

College football anywhere, even at Auburn, is a grind. It’s hard work with hour upon hour spent in the weight room, in conditioning, at practice, in the film room, in meetings, at functions…and oh yeah, in class. Then throw in an extensive injury rehabilitation as a senior, and it can be a bit much.

Then there’s college football at Alabama, where the rare air Alabama fans are breathing comes at the expense of young men like Bell who are paying the price. There are tons of personal benefits to their work, but pressures that come with it.

Then factor in that Bell is a father to two children. Any father reading this knows the responsibility you feel to provide for your kids, and the guilt you feel when time spent away isn’t time that’s producing an earning to support them. College football is a full-time job…I know. But a full time job that the NCAA has seen to it that you can’t be paid for, unless your last name is Newton or Manziel.

We forget as fans these young men are, well, young men, facing pressures most have never imagined. And for some, facing those pressures while having children at young ages before they’re able to fully support them.

Who knows what’s going on inside Bell’s heart. He received his bachelor’s degree last December, so that part of his life is intact, with an education to fall back on. And to his credit, Bell is making headlines for all the right reasons…trying to make grown man decisions for his family…rather than for sucker punching a fellow student (LSU’s Jeremy Hill) or the latest immature endeavor for which Johnny Manziel captures our attention.


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5 Responses to “What the Bell is going on at Alabama?” Subscribe

  1. The Conduit September 4, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    I’m a big fan of Bell. Made me sick when he broke his leg last November—-it felt like he was right on the edge of showing out, then boom, injury, rehab, and he misses a historic two games.

    All the more reason I want him to succeed this year.

    You know, for all the talk about Manziel being a delinquent emotional football diva, I don’t like him for the simple fact that he takes away all the attention from what I do like about college football. Kenny Bell represents that group. On one hand, that’s exactly why you don’t hear from him, but on the other hand you’re never going to take the spotlight away from children acting out like Manziel. College football should be about guys like RG3, Bell, Richardson, Luck, not Manziel, Blount, or Newton.

    Roll Tide, Mr. Bell. Now’s your chance.

    • ITK September 4, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      Yeah, he’s one of my favorites for sure. Hard worker, and a person who seems to have his priorities in order. You just want to see guys like that succeed.

  2. USAFAp September 4, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    ITK,
    Great Article, Kenny Bell is a hard and selfless worker. Whatever he decides in future endeavors I hope they workout for him. What I don’t understand about your article is there is no need to sling dirt at Johnny Manziel and other various players. Talk our guy up and let the rest speak for themselves, call me old fashioned I’m only 29 but doesn’t it seem like the media tries to make a story out of everything and it ends up affecting the person’s life terribly. Look at Manziel he is 20 and trying to have fun while playing football, 30 years ago Oklahoma and FSU and Miami had questionable character players running around having fun, only they didn’t have 1/8th the social media and video cameras we have today. Whatever happened to live and let live. Seems to me the people trying to video tape them are just trying to make a name for themselves off somebody else, kind of like a bottomfeeder. Anyways Bear Bryant had the likes of Stabler and Namath drinking bourbon to the wee hours and chasing skirts, but like I said everything back then was inhouse. The way it should be. Just my 2 cents but I truely feel sorry for the stars of today.

    • ITK September 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

      You raise good points. I would just offer this.

      Johnny Manziel, and any other athlete signing with a big, well-respected program like Alabama or A&M, knows from the beginning what they’re getting into. Social media, the internet and today’s never ending thirst for sports info in the media didn’t spring up overnight. Kids today came up inundated in this stuff, and Manziel knows before he Tweets, acts, or crosses the line in getting a personal foul what he’s getting into. When he does, it’s fair game.

      Johnny Manziel is a spoiled brat that everybody hates, and nationally everybody outside of college station wants to see the little punk get planted. That may or may not happen September 14th, but I do know there’ll be a herd of physical specimens in Crimson fully capable of doing a number on him. He’s a great player, no doubt, but a great player who has never spent 30 seconds thinking about humility, being gracious for his opportunity, and using his platform for anyone other than himself.

      Thus, game on when it comes to little Johnny. His criticism is well-earned. Thats my 2 cents.

      Thanks for stopping by; please come back often.

      • The Conduit September 5, 2013 at 8:20 am #

        I don’t mean to get too off-topic here, but my question is this——is AJ McCarron not having fun? We don’t hear about him, he doesn’t get in trouble, and yet just like Manziel he has a Twitter account, for example.

        I love Joe Namath. I’m not sure Joe would be as successful in today’s era of football and media because Joe wouldn’t have lied about it—–he was a playboy and didn’t hide it. But he was also a leader. The difference in Manziel and Namath isn’t personality.

        Regardless, guys like Kenny Bell represent Alabama and its culture. He’s a great fit for Alabama. Manziel fits A&M. He’s emotional and acts out. I say he fits A&M because 6 other players missed twice as much time as he did in game one because they acted out as well. Now they’re out two more players for the next game for the same reasons. We can’t just ignore the Manziel issue——-everyone is talking about it. But we can contrast it with our own program and take a look at the differences in both its idendity and its results.

        The results, like Kenny Bell’s, speak for themselves.

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