Thursday, September 04, 2008
It's a wild story that I'm sure you've probably already read about somewhere, but here's a quick recap. Rudi Johnson gets signed by the Lions, Tatum Bell gets cut to make room for the new RB, Rudi's luggage inexplicably goes missing (along with money clip and bills), cameras catch Bell walking out of the facility with the bags....annnnnnd SCENE!
You couldn't write something like that, and while you'd like to think it's cut and dry at this point, we're just getting started with this whole thing. Tatum Bell has now told the Detroit Free-Press that it was an honest mistake and that he thought that the luggage was the property of someone else....
Now, Bell’s version: Knowing he was going to be released, Bell went to clean out his locker. Former teammate Victor DeGrate, who played at the same high school and college as Bell and had been cut Saturday, asked him to grab his backpack. Bell grabbed two bags by the computer area, thinking they were DeGrate’s.I guesssssss that could potentially have happened, but the irony is of the charts if that's the case. Oh well, you have to take a man at his word right? And the first word since the incident will come on The Dan Patrick Show tomorrow. You can hear all of the apologetic goodness at 10:30am EST or so over at DP.com, and there's also a small chance that Rudi Johnson will be on the show. I've been told that's unlikely at this point, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
“I didn’t have a clue,” Bell said. “I wasn’t thinking or nothing at the time. I just grabbed the backpack and grabbed the other bag. It wasn’t in nobody’s locker or nothing like that. It was just sitting right there by the computers. … So I grabbed them and put them in the car.”
Bell said he took the bags to a female friend of DeGrate’s, as DeGrate had asked him to. The woman, reached by phone, was upset and declined to comment. DeGrate did not respond to messages. Later, the Lions contacted Bell and told him they had the surveillance video of him taking Johnson’s bags.
“I said, ‘If you look on film, I wasn’t in no hurry or nothing. I was just going about my day,’ ” Bell said. “I tried to talk to Rudi yesterday, but he was pretty upset, so I let it go. So now it’s that I’m being a thief. I come to found out that the bags weren’t whose I thought they was. It was just an honest mistake, man.”
Tatum Bell explains himself (Dan Patrick Show)
Bell: 'I ain't no thief;' but Lions' Johnson doesn't believe him (Detroit Free Press)
Tatum Bell Handled That Well (With Leather)