June 22, 2006

Theo Bell, RIP

Former Pittsburgh Steeler and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Theo Bell died yesterday after a long battle with kidney disease. I knew him from my brief involvement with a local GEAR UP project a few years ago. Some years after leaving the NFL in 1985, he earned a masters and devoted his time to following kids in school in different counselor-type jobs, including the one funded by the GEAR UP grant. He had all the money he ever needed, and he spent his time in schools instead of partying away his money like some other athletes have done. Maybe it was because the kids loved him, or the reverse. Maybe it was because, according to him, a mentor at the same age had saved him from the life some of his relatives went into.

But regardless of the origins, I know several hundred teens from the center of Tampa will be sorely missing a football star they never saw play.

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Posted in Random comments on June 22, 2006 8:10 AM |