Bell gets shot with Big Blue
Wallkill grad signs free-agent contract
By Justin Rodriguez
Alex Bell looked over his right shoulder and saw Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey stretching a few feet away from him.
"It was pretty cool," Bell said. "I tried not to stare. I didn't want to be rude. But it was definitely (cool)."
Here's something even cooler: Bell is now one of Shockey's teammates. Their brush came earlier this week during a team workout at the Giants' practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J.
The Giants officially announced Bell's non-guaranteed free-agent contract yesterday. Bell, Wallkill Class of 2001, still faces long odds to stick with the Giants out of training camp this summer.
"My goal is to make the (53-man) roster," said Bell, who starred at guard for Division III Hobart College for four seasons. "I think I have a shot, totally. It's pretty exciting."
Bell, who is 6-foot-2, 328 pounds, hoped to sign a contract after the second day of the seven-round NFL draft on April 24. He didn't. But Bell and his agent, John Perez, kept in touch with the Giants and Green Bay Packers.
The Giants signed Bell after he impressed them in an open tryout during their rookie mini-camp on May 6-8. He is a longshot to make the team, but as a Division III player Bell was a longshot to make it this far. Only 13 former Division III players ended last season on NFL rosters.
"Honestly, I think Alex has the potential to play in the NFL," says Hobart football coach Michael Cragg. "He might not have the experience, he might be raw, but he has the talent. He has great feet. You rarely see that on a big guy. I know (the Giants) had to notice that."
Bell admits he got off to a slow start at the open tryout. When he was struggling, Bell said he relied on his quick feet to compensate and he got better each day. So now Bell finds himself with his very own Giants jersey – No. 79. He broke down film with starting guard David Diehl yesterday.
Bell will receive a weekly stipend from the Giants during the workouts until they end next month. He declined to disclose the amount. The Giants are putting him up in a Homestead Suites in Secaucus.
"I try not to pay attention to all this, but when I was watching the film (with Diehl) I was like, 'Wow, I have a Giants helmet on,' " said Bell, who would earn the rookie minimum of $230,000 per year if he makes the Giants. "I just have to keep getting better."