The Detroit Lions fell short of their dream of making the Super Bowl in New York this season, but that didn't prevent Joique Bell from stealing the show in the Big Apple anyway, both literally and figuratively.
Wednesday night, Bell, the current Lions' running back and former star runner from Wayne State University in Detroit, starred in a Broadway production of "Rock Of Ages." Playing a bartender, Bell enjoyed some cameo appearances on the stage. MLive's Kyle Meinke was there, and detailed some of the more memorable parts of Bell's performance.
"Bell, dressed in leather pants, studded leather jacket and bandana, certainly looked the part for his four short cameos. His only line came when he was offstage and the narrator threw a Playbill at him. 'Ow! My big toe!' Bell exclaimed to laughter from the near capacity crowd.
"Bell spent about 8 minutes on the stage during the two-hour show. His most memorable moment arrived at the program's conclusion, when he danced across the stage with a football and twirled on a pole… He finished off the night by offering the crowd a little taste of Detroit. As the performers took the stage for their curtain calls, Bell was front and center performing his hallmark Hip Hop Hooray touchdown dance with actress Neka Zang."
Then, Thursday morning, after helping ring the opening bell on Wall Street, Bell took to radio row to talk about his current love of Detroit, career focus and optimism about the future of the Lions. Though he admitted frustration with how the year ended and is a restricted free agent, Bell implied he wished he could to skip past that process in an excited, personality-charged interview with Matt Dery of Detroit Sports 105.1.
"I'm passionate about Detroit. I'm passionate about Michigan. Detroit, Michigan, we've been through a lot apart from the game of football. I know with this game and what we can do, how we can pull this community back up When I'm up there playing, I'm not just playing for me. I'm playing for the city. I'm playing for the fans. I am Michigan, Michigan is me."
Bell didn't mince words when Dery pressed him about his desire to remain in Detroit. "Hopefully, I'd like to say. I want to stay," Bell said near the conclusion of the interview. He made his passion felt, constantly asking for Twitter shout-outs from fans regarding him staying, and showing a passion and excitement unlike many have shown during the normally mundane radio row interviews before. "D-Town reppin'!," Bell shouted as he ended his discussion with Dery.
As exuberant football personalities go, there are few as compelling as Bell's. Genuine excitement is the only possible way to describe his radio tone, as he admitted he had not forgotten where he had come from, once working security for the Lions' games at Ford Field. Bell said his hard work is paying off, and hasn't completely paid off yet. He's a hard-working, humble man who's getting the chance to live out plenty of dreams, both on and off the football field. Who couldn't possibly be inspired by that?
"Right now, I'm just living in the moment," Bell later told Meinke after his brief foray into Broadway. "I think, when it's all said and done, I can look back and say, 'Wow, I've done a lot.' Right now, this is only the first of many opportunities for me."
Given his passion and vocal pride regarding his city and state, many fans hope he'll one day be giving the same impassioned, enlightening interviews during media day at a Super Bowl the Lions are participating in. For now, though, they're content to watch him take over New York City first.
D-Town reppin', indeed.
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