By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – The recent recipient of a three-year, $9.3 million contract, Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell returned to where it all started Wednesday, taking center stage before the team’s training camp practice at Bell’s alma mater Wayne State.
“I’m definitely home,” Bell said. “It’s great to be back. For me to play college ball here, to be from Michigan, to play for Wayne State and now I’m playing for the Detroit Lions, then to bring the Detroit Lions back to Wayne State, so many memories here, and this is a day I’ll never forget.
“Me coming out undrafted, from a small school, a lot of people counted me out, but one thing you can never do in this league is lose confidence in yourself, and that is one thing that I never lost,” Bell added later. “God had a plan for me. Now I’m back home.”
Caldwell had listed several reasons for holding a training camp practice at Wayne State. For one, it gave a different segment of the team’s fan base a chance to see the team play in person. For another, Caldwell likes to change up the time and location of practice, explaining the variety helps build a mentality that the team is ready to play any time and any place.
Bell’s history at Wayne State, of course, was a bonus.
“He’s just a quality guy,” Caldwell said. “He’s certainly fun-loving, but he’s also a guy that’s serious about his craft. He’s got a lot to share and teach young people that have come up the way in which he did. To come from a school like Wayne State and he’s done a tremendous job in our league, I think he’s a great inspiration.”
Bell recalled in detail his favorite memory at Tom Adams Field – the homecoming game Bell’s senior year, the Tartars trailed by 33-20 at halftime, but they made up the deficit, and Bell scored the game-winning touchdown with 30 seconds remaining. Bell also mentioned his occasional turns at quarterback in the team’s wildcat offense.
“Threw a couple touchdowns. I try to throw a couple hints at Coach Caldwell,” Bell said with a grin. “We’ll see what happens.”
A big, bruising complement to the speedy Reggie Bush last season, Bell played in all 16 games and recorded 650 rushing yards.