While the rest of the football world moves on apparently without him, one of the greatest linebackers to suit up for UNLV wonders how he wound up in this position.
Beau Bell trains daily in hopes of receiving another chance to play in the NFL, but he’s finding no takers.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Bell said this week. “I’m just confused, really. I don’t know what I did that was so bad. I can take it if somebody had said I wasn’t good enough. They haven’t really given me any answers.”
What makes this so maddening for Bell is how close he came to making the Cleveland Browns’ roster last year. Bell, the Browns’ fourth-round draft pick in 2008, made it to the final round of cuts before his release.
By nearly getting a second season with the Browns, Bell figured another opportunity would come along with a different team. But the closest he came was an early-season tryout with the Seattle Seahawks.
“I was real surprised,” Bell said. “I was the last cut, and I’m sitting there and trying to get on a practice squad somewhere. I didn’t get a practice-squad opportunity.”
Bell left UNLV for the NFL with high expectations after becoming the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2007. He made 126 tackles that season, including 9½ for losses and three sacks, and had five forced fumbles and four interceptions.
After the Browns drafted him, Bell played in five games in 2008, making three tackles and forcing a fumble, before season-ending knee surgery in December.
Then came last year and the roster cut with the season about to begin.
Bell hoped to attract NFL attention in March when he returned to UNLV to compete in the school’s pro day. Scouts, though, gave him at best a lukewarm response.
He also has tried the United Football League, but tryouts with the Sacramento Mountain Lions and Omaha Nighthawks have yet to yield call-backs.
“It doesn’t matter (which league),” Bell said. “I just want to play football.”
Bell lives at his mother’s home in Tustin, Calif., and his full-time job is working out and preparing in case he gets the call he has been waiting to receive.
He also worked out briefly this year at Las Vegas training center Philippi Sports Institute and said he’s in top shape at 6 feet 1 inch, 245 pounds.
“As soon as I got released from the Browns, I’ve been working out 24/7,” Bell said. “I’m healthy. That might’ve been a flag for other teams. I had a whole year to recuperate.”
So Bell works out and waits.
Maybe a team will soon call.
He can only hope.
“That’s how life goes,” Bell said. “There are ups and downs. I know my ups are coming back.”
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914.