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NFL COMBINE

Kahlil Bell is the lone Bruin at combine

In a sea of Trojans (11 in all), the running back is the only player from UCLA to receive an invitation to work out for pro scouts in Indianapolis.

February 21, 2009|Sam Farmer

INDIANAPOLIS — Kahlil Bell is, in a word, outnumbered.

The running back from UCLA is the only player from his school invited to the NFL scouting combine. There are 11 USC players here.

"It's unfortunate that some of my teammates got overlooked," Bell said Friday. "Guys like [defensive end] Brigham Harwell, second-team All-Pac-10, didn't get a chance to come here and showcase his talents. But guys like that, I'm sure they're going to work even harder so that when scouts come to see them on March 31 [for UCLA's campus pro day] that they'll be ready."

Bell, meanwhile, is relishing the opportunity to show that he can play at the next level. He said he's looking forward to participating in all the various drills this weekend.

Mostly, he's just happy to be out of the doctor's office. His first day at the combine was largely consumed by medical tests, including five hours getting scanned in various MRI tubes.

"At one point, when I was in one of those tubes getting my back checked, I started to get really hot and started to sweat," he said. "I pulled the trigger and said, 'Just let me get out and walk around for a few minutes.' "

Then again, he didn't know claustrophobic until he was surrounded by players from the school across town.

Coincidences

How's this for strange: Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has the potential to be taken No. 1 overall by Detroit, went to the same high school as Bobby Layne, the last great Lions quarterback. They were both students at Highland Park High in Dallas.

Legend has it that when the Lions traded Layne to Pittsburgh, the quarterback told Detroit brass that his old club wouldn't win for 50 years. That was 51 years ago.

The Lions haven't won an NFL title since 1957. Coincidentally, Highland Park hadn't won a Texas state championship since 1957 -- until Stafford led the school to one.

"There you go," Stafford said of the peculiar parallels. "It's crazy. It's kind of ironic how it all came together. Obviously, there's a lot of time between now and draft day, and who knows what could happen? But that would be something that would be definitely interesting."

Bronco pose

Josh McDaniels, the new coach in Denver, said there really haven't been many surprises on the personnel front since he came from New England to replace the fired Mike Shanahan. So what has been unexpected?

"Some of the decisions you make on a daily basis, on non-football issues, have been a little surprising," he said. "The color of paint on your walls. Whether to do yoga. Those kind of things are a little different." Whether to do yoga?

This Bill Belichick stuff gets stranger by the minute.

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

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