Lions running back Joique Bell's story almost didn't include Wayne State

DETROIT - Joique Bell is ready for the memories to come back to him.

When the Lions invade Wayne State for an open practice on Wednesday, he'll be the man of the hour.

By now, fans know his story. It's almost too good to be true. He's become a star on Sundays, emerging on the NFL landscape just a short drive away from the place he broke college records.

But all of those memories at Wayne State almost happened somewhere else.


"Choosing a college coming out of high school is one of the biggest decisions you'll have in your life," Bell says.

Most NFL stars have a story of faxing in their letter of intent to their school on signing day. Joique's signing day story took a couple days to develop. And even then, it needed another main character.

"It's two days after signing day, February 7, 2005," Bell recalls. "My mom comes into my room, 6 (o'clock) in the morning. I'll never forget the day."

"I'm laying down in the bed, I'm saying, 'Mom, just give me five more minutes. Give me five more minutes."

Bell's mother, Althea Gabby, asked him to sign a document. She had to put it in his file, he remembers.

After he got those extra five minutes of sleep, he woke up and went to school. What he didn't know: he was beginning one of the most important days of his life.

"So I'm at school, (I get) a phone call on my cell phone. My mom knows I'm in class, so I'm like, 'Why is she calling me?'"

When he answered, his mom asked him a question she'd been asking for weeks.

"Joique, how do you feel about Wayne State?"

Bell told her he needed more time to make his decision.

"I'm just gonna fax in your letter of intent," Gabby told him.

Joique, reaching a point of confusion, told his mom she couldn't send anything unless it had his signature on it. Then it hit him. His mom had pulled a fast one.

"No, Joique, you're playing. Don't worry about it, you signed your letter of intent this morning," she said.

Bell insists he wasn't mad. He knew it was the right choice, and it just took his mom to push him to get there.

"At the end of the day, it was the best decision that I've never made," Bells says with a smile.

Now, as he returns to the field he flourished on, wearing an NFL jersey he's made his own, Bell wouldn't change a thing.

"God spoke to my mom and he sent me here for a reason," Bell says, looking down at his Lions no. 35 jersey. "And look, it worked out."

Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter at WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli

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