Vonn Bell signed his 3-year, $18 million deal with the Bengals for all the right reasons.
“It was because of the culture Zac Taylor is trying to build,” he said. “I believe in the pieces that he brought into free agency and the guys in the locker room.”
This might not come as a surprise considering the massive roster upgrade in Cincinnati in 2020. But the Bengals haven’t simply been accumulating talent. Rather, they seem to be reversing the trend of recent years, when the team had problems tackling and rising up in the biggest moments. Bell sees all of that as a thing of the past, saying:
“[Taylor] wants a ferocious team. He wants guys who are hungry and guys that come to work every day and challenge and compete... That’s the main thing in this game. That’s what you have to do every day in practice, and it carries on off the field, too, because you’re competing with yourself, taking care of your body and the playbook and guys showing leadership in the locker room.”
The excitement goes both ways. Bengals coaches are excited about the leadership that Bell brings.
“He’s a football player in all areas,” said defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo. “The guy is a workhorse from a meeting standpoint, great communication, great leader and he’s a physical guy... He really brings a bunch of energy and juice to the group. We are excited about him.”
Bell - a national champion at Ohio State in 2015 and part of a New Orleans Saints team that went to the conference championship less than two years ago - truly has the dedication of a champion à la Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, and the other greats.
Bell wakes up at 4 a.m. for his workout and is in bed by 8 or 9 p.m. He talked about his “blue-collar working mindset” that is “ingrained” in him. “That’s who I am,” he said. “I just want to go to work every day.”
There’s no doubt about it— Bell was a huge addition for the Bengals. Not just because of his talent but because of his ability to lead by example.