This Sunday mothers everywhere will celebrate Mother’s Day with their family, receiving flowers, jewelry, handmade cards and plenty of love from their kids.
But for Lisa Bell-Russell, Mother’s Day came early, when she received the perfect gift, her son Le’Veon Bell getting drafted by her favorite NFL team, the Steelers.
“She grew up a Steelers fan, everyone in my family did,” said Bell. “My grandpa grew up a fan of the team. That is where she got it from. He was in tears when they drafted me.
“The fact that I got drafted here made it more exciting for everyone. I am happy to be here. I am glad it’s not too far away. It’s the perfect distance. My mom can drive to the games. She is so excited and I am happy for her.”
Bell-Russell had always dreamt about coming to a Steelers game, whether at Three Rivers Stadium or Heinz Field, but never in her wildest dreams did she think her first opportunity would be to see her son play for the team.
“It was surreal when they selected him,” said Bell-Russell. “I couldn’t believe it. I just cried. I kept telling him he was going to the Steelers and he was like, mom, really. It’s surreal because I grew up a Steelers fan.”
When Bell came to Pittsburgh for the Steelers fan blitz the day after he was selected, he was joined by his mom, who was wide-eyed as she got a tour of the team’s practice facility. From seeing the Super Bowl trophies, to meeting some of the current players, to having her picture taken with Joe Greene, she was in her glory.
“I think I was more excited being there than Le’Veon was,” she joked. “I always watched the Steelers but have never been here. Seeing the trophies was awesome. That took a lot of tradition, hard work and family. To get those you have to work as family, one unit.”
After their tour, they headed over to Heinz Field for the fan blitz and she couldn’t have been prouder seeing her son on the grass at Heinz Field, wearing black and gold and getting a warm reception from the Steelers fans.
“I just say God is good. He is,” said Bell-Russell. “From a little boy Le’Veon said he was going to the league. He stuck to what he believed in. I realized he was serious in seventh grade when he took football and being competitive so seriously. I am happy he achieved his dream.”