NASHVILLE, Tenn. —The Titans got their Bell rung at the start of practice on Sunday from an unlikely motivational speaker: Byron Bell.
Bell, in his first season with the team after playing the previous four seasons in Carolina, gave a spirited talk to teammates after players gathered in a circle following an early walk-through and stretch. His voice – and the colorful language -- could be heard from 50 yards away.
The result was just what Bell planned – a spirited practice.
"He surprised me today when he came in and stepped up, but that's what we needed today. I think practice was going a little slow early…and he woke everybody up. He had a message and that message got across very clear,'' tight end Delanie Walker said.
"(He said) today is the day we are going to come and fight and be physical, and it got through to everybody. That's the PG version at least."
Heading into his fifth NFL season, Bell is competing for a starting spot on the offensive line in training camp. Bell started at right tackle on Friday night in Atlanta, but he worked at left guard some in Sunday's practice. Bell said he challenged the players to fight through the training camp doldrums following a preseason game on Friday, and an off day on Saturday.
"I just wanted to get people out of a funk and bring enthusiasm to practice. I've been around long enough to know when you are coming off a game and a day off and then you have practice (it can be tough),'' Bell said. "I just said something to hype the guys up and let them know you have people counting on you. In my case I have (my hometown of) Greeneville (Texas) counting on me, Nashville's counting on me, my coaches are counting on me, and my teammates are counting on me and we are trying to win football games.
"I think about my family and what I am doing this for. I want to let the team know I've got their back and want to win, and that is my whole objective in talking to the team. I wasn't here last year and wasn't part of the 2-14 (season last year), but it is what it is, I just want to win."
Bell said he gave a similar speech prior to a practice one year in Carolina.
Titans rookie running back David Cobb said the speech "definitely got me going."
"To hear him talk,'' Cobb said of Bell, "it got me pumped up."
Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt gave props to Bell for his show of leadership.
He agreed it helped up the tempo.
"You have to have guys that buy in and believe in what we're trying to get done and stand up and make those statements and I think it was effective. We had a good practice today,'' Whisenhunt said. "And it's great to see leadership out of guys like that and we have gotten some of that. It was good."
Titans Online looks at the career of newly-acquired OT Byron Bell, who began his first three NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers. (AP Photos)