On Friday, Nov. 1, Pro Football Hall of Famer returned to his hometown of Shelby, N.C., to receive his “Hometown Hall of Famers” plaque at Shelby High School in front of current students, friends and family.
The ceremony opened with a heartfelt national anthem from one of Shelby High’s chorus members.
Shelby High School Principal, David Allen welcomed the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Allstate Insurance Company and to the school as one of Shelby’s own hometown heroes. Allen spoke to Shelby’s pride in being chosen as a recipient of Bell’s “Hometown Hall of Famer” plaque. Allstate agency owner Alan Carpenter thanked Shelby High School for hosting the event where the legendary career of began.
Brock Richards of the Pro Football Hall of Fame explained the significance that the Shelby community had on Bell’s legendary football career. Richards stressed the importance of Bell choosing Shelby High School to be the recipient of this plaque as a thank-you to the community that pushed him to pursue his dreams.
’s son, Jr., had the honor of presenting his father along with the bronze plaque. Bell, Jr. thanked Shelby High School, Allstate Insurance and the Pro Football Hall of Fame for recognizing the community of Shelby as “the backbone that allowed to achieve his goal and his mission.”
Bell Sr. made a grand entrance into the gymnasium through a human tunnel courtesy of the football team and cheerleading squad.
Bell, overwhelmed with joy, thanked the audience for this honor. He outlined his humble beginnings in Shelby and how his journey from Shelby to the Pro Football Hall of Fame was a long one. His roots and beginnings may have been humble, but his community and family made sure he was encouraged to fulfill his dream of going to college and playing college football. Years later, Bell is a renowned Pro Football Hall of Famer. He now encourages everyone to set high, yet obtainable, goals and fulfill their dreams.
A linebacker from Minnesota, Bell was drafted by the Vikings in the second round of the 1963 NFL Draft, but opted to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs after being selected in the seventh round of the 1963 AFL Draft. Originally used as a defensive end, he was shifted to outside linebacker in the Chiefs’ “Stack Defense.” He was named All-AFL or All-NFL every year from 1965 through 1971 and elected to nine Pro Bowls during his career. In all, Bell intercepted 26 passes, returning six for touchdowns, and played in 168 consecutive games.
Bell was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and was the first Kansas City Chiefs player to be inducted.
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