Kenny Bell: Ringing in new season with new opportunity
by Elisabeth Osmeloski
Within minutes of meeting Kenny Bell, it’s easy to understand why he is a fan favorite among the loyal University of Nebraska Cornhusker following. Genuinely interested in getting to know people on a personal level, his playful humor and likable personality generates an instant connection with fans, coaches, teammates and staff.
Of course, his performance on the field is what made him legendary across Husker Nation. While at the University of Nebraska (2010-2014), Bell set a number of school records, playing in 53 games, ending his college career with 2689 receiving yards, 109 rushing and 22 touchdowns.
Drafted in the fifth round (162nd overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015, his draft profile called him a “lanky, vertical wide receiver with a second gear. He likes to lull cornerbacks to sleep before hitting the gas and getting over the top of them for big plays.”
The first week of Stallions training camp saw this prediction come true play after play, where Bell was making athletic and impressive catches, many of them the result of targets by former teammate and friend, QB Josh Woodrum. The two spent a lot of time together on the Baltimore Ravens practice squad, so both were excited when the stars aligned and put them on the same team in The Alliance.
“We worked together everyday during the 2017 season to prepare the Ravens for whoever they played that week,” Bell told us. “On top of that, we were locker neighbors and interacted more than anyone else on the team outside of our position group. The night (Josh) got drafted by the Stallions, I texted him five minutes later to let him know that we would be lighting up the scoreboard together in Salt Lake.”
Bell, who turns 27 just two days after the Stallions’ first home game, was born and raised in neighboring Colorado. His father, Ken Bell Sr. was a kick return specialist for the Denver Broncos who played a pivotal role during the 1986-’87 AFC Championship Game, recovering a muffed punt at the 2-yard line. This set up The Drive by John Elway that covered 98 yards and led to a win over the Cleveland Browns.
In early 2018, the Denver Broncos drew the young receiver back home, and signed him to a futures deal. After suffering a hamstring injury, Bell was released by the Broncos at the end of summer, getting plenty of time to heal just in time for the Salt Lake Stallions to snatch him up for the inaugural season.