Familiar Foes: Bell Ready to Face his Old Team on Sunday


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Byron Bell spent his first four NFL seasons blocking for quarterback Cam Newton, wearing a Carolina Panthers uniform in 62 games.

On Sunday, he'll line up on the other side, blocking Panthers.

Will it feel weird?

"Nah,'' Bell said with a smile. "I'll just act like I'm back at practice."

Bell has started all eight games for the Titans after signing with the team during the offseason. He started the first seven games at left guard, but on Sunday in New Orleans switched back to right tackle, where he's expected to play this Sunday as well.

Bell said he has good memories from his days in Carolina.

"That team gave me the opportunity to be relevant in the National Football League, no matter what the naysayers have to say about me,'' Bell said. "Coach (Ron) Rivera brought me in as a young guy from New Mexico, and he believed in me and gave me a job.

"I started my rookie year – and my first start was on my dad's birthday. My dad passed away, and my first NFL start was ironically on my dad's birthday, and I'll never forget that."

Bell said he understood "it's a business" when the Panthers didn't sign him during the offseason.

He'll say hello to old friends in warm-ups and post-game, but he'll be ready to play, he said. Former Titans offensive lineman Michael Oher is now a starting tackle for the Panthers.

"I have no beef with anybody there. I have nothing but respect for guys on that side,'' Bell said. "But I'm a Titan now and I'm trying my best to help us win."


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