Originally written on The Detroit Sports Site  |  Last updated 11/13/14
Fans, as dictated by their fanatical nature, are selfish. They always want to squeeze the most they can out of players, teams and coaches, especially when it comes to extending the eligibility of their favorite collegiate stars. Knowing this, it would make sense that some Michigan State Spartans’ rooters are ringing their hands over the potential decision of Le’Veon Bell to test NFL Draft waters and perhaps eventually declare, forgoing his senior season in East Lansing. As frustrating as it might be for Spartan football, if these rumors prove true, it’s best to understand Bell is making his own personal choices for he and his family first. For the past three years, Bell has given everything he’s got to Michigan State’s football program and even the university as a whole, body and soul. He’s accounted for spectacular plays on the gridiron, been a model citizen off the field and also been indirectly responsible for the generation of plenty of revenue. That’s quite a sizable impact as one man on one campus goes. So, if Bell should decide the time is right for him to cash in and get a fast start on what will become his logical future anyway, let him go. For as many good reasons there might be to stay, namely a shot at more team success with additional personal glory and the value of earning his degree, there are just as many compelling ones to leave with regards to his career development. Two of them, incidentally, are best represented by the name Matt Barkley. All anyone could talk about last summer was how the USC Trojans would be a juggernaut in 2012. Barkley, the supposed shoo-in Heisman Trophy winner, and his Trojans were supposed to roll the competition en-route to easy titles. Things didn’t work out as planned, however, as injuries and problems helped derail Barkley’s dream senior year. Nobody wants to see that happen to Bell. In the 2012 draft, Barkley could have been selected high and gotten a jump-start on his NFL career. Now, there’s rumors he might not crack the first three rounds in 2013. Who knows what will end up happening to his once promising football future. That’s a compelling argument for Bell, if he receives a good enough grading from NFL scouts, to make the jump. There is little else he could accomplish in college other than a Rose Bowl win or additional personal decoration. Using Barkley as the preeminent example, nothing is guaranteed with respect to that, either. Two other Spartans questioning their futures, however, should make the easy decision to stay in school. Tight end Dion Sims and defensive end William Gholston would benefit from another year of football learning, and could only elevate their stocks by having a better close to their career by showing off additional work ethic, dedication and improvement. Bell, though, after developing better and better by the year with few lapses, isn’t in that same position. This choice is his and his alone to make. Either way, there should be no regrets from fans and coaches alike. Spartan rooters should be thankful he developed into an outstanding enough talent at Michigan State to be in the position to leave early and generate headlines for the program. If Bell’s case has shown us anything, it’s that Mark Dantonio and company are capable of restocking the cupboards quickly, and the next waves of talent are likely waiting their chance to develop now. Nick Tompkins and Jeremy Langford are two such players. From that standpoint, there’s no need to fear his potential decision to exit at all. Whatever may happen in the coming weeks, embrace Bell’s wonderful Spartan career first and foremost. If he returns to East Lansing, be excited for the opportunity in front of Michigan State’s team in 2013. Should he enter the NFL Draft, cheer for him to be taken as high as possible and develop into the next great rusher. Either way, there’s no debating that Bell’s amazing, across the board impact and outstanding development have earned him this once in a lifetime choice.
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