Posted By: Michael Cecchin
From the beginning of his National Football League career, Greg Bell has been in the public eye as a positive role model and advocate of helping kids make the right decisions. Upon entering the league with the Buffalo Bills in 1984, Greg was named New York State’s spokesperson for Athletes Against Drunk Driving and Drug Abuse by state Governor Mario Cuomo. Shortly after being traded to the then Los Angeles Rams, Bell’s close friend and college teammate Stacey Toran was killed in a drunk driving accident, propelling Bell to continue his work and create the Athletes for Life Foundation.
The Athletes for Life Foundation focuses on helping kids make the right decision, not only physically but also logically. That has been the basis of which the foundation has run on, giving children the platforms to make the right choices down the road; whether it be drinking and driving, staying away from drugs or their choice of friends.
“When you talk about young people, the biggest mistake they start their life off with is their choice of friends because it leads to all the other choices they make in their life,” said Bell.
The Athletes for Life Foundation holds multiple youth conferences including after school programs offering homework assistance and mathematics, gang education and prevention, as well as mentoring young males to make the right decisions when in a tough situation. Giving children a strong sense of self-image will propel them to become leaders among their peers and help them handle the threat of peer pressure. Greg Bell is not the only former professional football player to be involved with the foundation as the entire Youth Conference staff consists of former teammates and other ball players all with the same desire to guide today’s youth.
Spending his entire professional career and post retirement helping others and giving back to numerous communities has never fazed the one-time NFL Comeback Player of the Year and he has never expected a pat on the back or round of applause. For the Columbus, Ohio native it’s always just been a part of life.
“As a kid growing up I had a mentor that basically told me that that was part of life. Every person that walks this earth, you give back something to someone, to me it’s been to give back to communities that I’ve served, these communities helped make me a fairly wealthy guy, they came out to our games, they supported me, they kept my name in the spotlight” said Bell.
“Growing up in the inner city I had a lot of strong role models; African American men who showed me that life is a great place when you do good things for others, for me it’s just filling those expectations that they gave me,” he added.
Greg Bell led the NFL in touchdowns twice throughout his career and was a positive impact on all three teams he represented throughout his career. His winning and positive attitude on the field has never been anything but that off the field. He is a positive role model and a proud father to his children. Stricken by the tragedy of losing a dear friend to poor judgment, Bell has done tremendous work in his community to help kids make the right one.
To learn more about the Athletes For Life Foundation, visit http://www.aflcamps.com/AFL.set.html