Who Is Ricky Bell Football Player?

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Ricky Bell was an American football player who played running back for the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chargers. He was born in New York City and grew up in San Diego. He is a gifted football player, but he did not significantly contribute to the football league for an extended period.
Let’s have a look at why with TSC!

Timeline

How good was Ricky Bell in his day? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Bell as the first overall pick in the 1977 National Football League draft. Even though Tony Dorsett went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Dallas Cowboys, the running back from USC was selected slightly earlier than Dorsett.
Bell, a team most known for its 26-game losing streak, was chosen, but the committee decided on Dorsett, a well-established franchise. Because he died at the age of 29 from heart failure induced by dermatomyositis, it’s impossible to predict how successful Bell’s NFL career would have been.

TimeEvent
1955Ricky Lynn Bell (April 8, 1955 – November 28, 1984) was an American professional football player who played running back for the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers. He was born in Tampa, Florida, and died in San Diego, California, on November 28, 1984. During his undergraduate career, the University of Southern California junior was a standout on the football field, rushing for 1,875 yards in his junior season. Bell was the first overall pick in the 1977 NFL Draft. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004 after passing away in a car accident.
1955 – 1960Bell was the younger brother of Archie Bell, the primary vocalist of Archie Bell and the Drells, a 1960s R&B group that included Archie Bell and the Drells as its central attraction.
1960 – 1974He first came to public attention as a great blocker and between-the-tackles runner during his sophomore season at USC in 1974, when he shared the fullback position with David Farmer on the 10–1–1 national championship team (UPI) that defeated third-ranked Ohio State in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, 18–17.
1974 – 1975In 1975, the Trojans went 7-0 in their first seven games. Even though they struggled to an 8–4 record in the absence of a passing game to help balance the offense, their season culminated in a victory over Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl.
Bell finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting and was a consensus All-American this season, leading the nation in rushing with 1,875 yards to lead the country in rushing yards. He also finished third in the Heisman Trophy vote and was unanimously selected as an All-American.
1975 – 1976In 1976, Bell was selected the Pacific-8 Conference Player of the Year, which he has held ever since. In addition, he was voted a consensus All-American and was awarded the W.J. Voit Memorial Trophy as the best football player on the Pacific Coast in 1976, which he got for his efforts.
The following season, Bell guided the Trojans to an 11–1 record, including a 14–6 Rose Bowl victory over the Michigan Wolverines.
Although he was plagued by injuries that limited his playing time, Bell set a new USC single-game rushing record of 347 yards versus Washington State at the new Kingdom. He placed second in the Heisman Trophy vote behind Pittsburgh’s Tony Dorsett.
1976 – 1977The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Bell as the first overall pick in the 1977 NFL Draft, despite being winless in their rookie season in 1976. Bell reportedly agreed to a five-year contract of $1.2 million, making it the most significant agreement ever signed by a rookie in the National Football League.
As a result of the controversy surrounding this selection, Tony Dorsett was considered a possibly superior running back to Bell. Bell’s choice was not unexpected, given that the Tampa Bay Lightning are coached by John McKay, who served as Bell’s head coach at the University of Southern California from 1975 to 1977.
With the Buccaneers winning the NFC Central Division after disappointing seasons, Bell had his best season in 1979, rushing for 1,263 yards and leading the team to the division victory. His 142 yards and two scores on 38 carries propelled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their first postseason victory in the team’s history against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Following their loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC championship game, the team was one game away from earning a trip to Super Bowl XIV.
1977 – 1982The San Diego Chargers acquired him in a deal with McKay in March 1982. Still, he was forced to quit before the start of the 1983 season owing to weight loss, sore muscles, and severe skin problems.
1982 – 1991Bell died at age 29 due to heart failure induced by dermatomyositis. A Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story, a 1991 made-for-television film based on the life of football player Ricky Bell, stars Mario Van Peebles in the role of the athlete. Upon his death, Bell was laid to rest in Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood.

 

College Football Career

Ricky Bell began his professional football career as a linebacker before transferring to fullback during his second season at the University of Southern California. When he was in his second season with the team in 1974, he carried the ball only 45 times.

Bell took over as the primary running back for the University of Southern California during his junior season and went on to have two outstanding seasons, both of which saw him finish in the top three in the Heisman Trophy voting.

During the 1977 NFL Draft, Ricky Bell was the first player taken in the first round. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected the University of Southern California running back, bringing Bell together with his college football coach, John McKay.

Bell was the most productive quarterback in the country as a junior at USC, compiling 1,957 yards and finishing third in Heisman voting. Bell’s final season with the Trojans saw them go 11-1 and win the Rose Bowl against Michigan by 16 to 1.

Despite suffering from chronic illnesses, Bell collected 1,433 yards and 14 touchdowns. Bell finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting, trailing only Pittsburgh’s Tony Dorsett.

Short-Lived Nfl Career

While Tony Dorsett was widely expected to be the first overall pick in the 1977 NFL draft, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John McKay selected Bell, a former University of Southern California standout.

Afterward, Dorsett was traded to the Dallas Cowboys, who moved up to the No. 2 spot by dealing their first-round pick and three second-round picks to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for the Seahawks’ first-round pick and three second-round choices. During its first season as an expansion franchise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 0-14.

The Buccaneers went on a 26-game losing streak after dropping their first 12 games of the 1977 season. The following year, after two dismal seasons, Bell broke onto the spotlight with 1,263 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

Bell had a vital role in the resurgence of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their rebirth. With a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Buccaneers won the NFC Central Division and advanced to the postseason for the first time since 1979.

In that game, Bell rushed for 142 yards on the ground. In the NFC championship game, the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-23. The San Diego Chargers acquired Bell during the 1982 season, abbreviated due to a labor strike.

As a result of dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune disorder that manifests itself as a skin rash and muscular weakness, Bell was forced to retire during the strike. According to the Lakeland Ledger, physicians believe he may have been suffering from the disease for up to ten years before it was discovered and treated.

His Final Days

Dermatomyositis has no known cause, even though Bell experienced lesions and weight loss due to it. In Bell’s case, cardiomyopathy, a severe muscle ailment affecting the heart, resulted in a heart attack, which caused his death.

His dermatomyositis was found to be associated with his cardiomyopathy. Doctor Allan Metzger, who treated Bell during his final year, described the disease as “a situation in which the arteries and muscles are attacked, and it may begin or induced by a virus.” “It’s a condition where the arteries and muscles are assaulted,” Metzger said.

“Inflammation of the muscles causes considerable weakness,” explains the doctor. The blood vessels in your skin become excessively inflamed, making it impossible for you to move your muscles effectively. The body’s attempt to treat the illness is the cause of the weight loss.” In fact, according to Metzger, only around 5% of those suffering from dermatomyositis have heart disease as severe as Bell’s.

The former All-American athlete couldn’t play with his young daughter after retiring because he was too exhausted after his career.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, his wife Natalia said: “Can you imagine sleeping with an oxygen machine, then waking up, bringing your little child out to the car, and being exhausted when you used to be able to run 10 to 15 miles a day?” she asked.

Bell kept his problems to himself and never mentioned them to anyone. He didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him or feel sorry for himself. He embraced life as if it were a game, giving it everything he had till the end.

Conclusion

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People also ask

What NFL team did Ricky Bell play for?

1 NFL Draft Pick Who Passed Away at the Age of 29. What was Ricky Bell’s level of ability? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Bell as the first overall pick in the 1977 NFL Draft. He was the first player chosen in the draft. The running back out of USC was selected just ahead of Tony Dorsett, who went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Dallas Cowboys after being selected in the first round.

Is the Ricky Bell story true?

During a phone chat from his Florida home, he explained that the report was “simply not the whole thing.” After spending five hours with Jeff Andrus discussing Ricky, I was disappointed to learn that Procter & Gamble had made “too many modifications.”

How old was Ricky Bell when he died?

29 years (1955–1984)

Did Ricky Bell know Ryan Blankenship?

Richard Bell, a star running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, made a buddy in the spring of 1980 in the form of Ryan Blankenship, a physically challenged child from Tampa who also had a speech impediment. They built a close, mutually supportive connection over the years.