12/14/2011 1:14 PM
In his AFL-rookie season, LB Beau Bell recorded 51.5 tackles. PHOTO BY JONATHAN MARTINEZ
What child hasn’t dreamed of becoming a professional athlete? Not many. How many children have turned that dream into a reality? Again, the answer remains the same – not many.
Former Spokane Shock LB Beau Bell, on the other hand, is one of the few who has been able to turn that dream into a reality.
“My whole life I’ve been working towards being a professional football player,” Bell explained. “Just like people who go to school for accounting or marketing want to be an accountant or work at a marketing firm, I wanted to play football. “
Bell’s professional career started as a fourth-round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns. After playing five games for the Browns, Bell’s dream seemed to come to a crashing halt when he was released due to injury.
Despite a full recovery, Bell’s phone was mysteriously silent. Until, he got a call from Spokane Shock General Manager Ryan Rigmaiden.
“The Shock will always have a special place in my heart,” Bell said. “I feel like Spokane is the only place that gave me an opportunity to play again. I was long forgotten. Then, I talked to Rigmaiden and he gave me the opportunity to prove to people that I could play football. “
In his AFL-rookie season, Bell quickly proved himself collecting 51.5 tackles – including 5.5 sacks - four forced fumbles, three pass break-ups, one fumble recovery, three QB hurries, and one blocked kick.
Bell not only proved himself at the AFL-level, he also earned an opportunity at the next level signing with the CFL’s defending Champion BC Lions earlier this week.
In the short seven history of the Spokane franchise, Bell is the latest of several players from the Shock roster who have signed with the Lions.
“People are going to understand that there is a pipeline between Spokane and the CFL,” Bell said. “The Shock organization has good people who want you to succeed. I’m just happy I was a part of the organization.”
While Bell, a US citizen, was quick to admit that it will be challenge to make the Lions final roster, it is a challenge that he has embraced. A CFL roster has 46 players on it, with 42 players available for the game day roster. Teams cannot have any more than 19 import players on an active roster. Often, it becomes a numbers game, but that certainly doesn’t dampen his spirits or change Bell’s focus.
“I’m competing to win a job for a team that just won the Grey Cup!” Bell explained. “I’m really excited just to compete for a spot on their roster. They are going to bring in a lot of other good players because they just won the Championship. They are a great organization and they win – and everyone wants to be a part of a winner.”
For players with professional aspirations, an opportunity is all that they have asked for to make their dream a reality. Bell, like many players before him, has earned his opportunity. Now, it’s his job to make the most of it.