Two months ago, Nick Bell stumbled toward the brink of death.
Surgery after surgery, he lay in a hospital bed as his body continued to wither. Any thoughts of his highlights while starring as a running back at Iowa or playing for the Raiders weren't really on his mind. Rather, as death approached, Bell thought of ways he could give back.
The Costa Mesa resident had played four years in the NFL, and along with his legacy at Iowa, he had done some special things. But life could be more than just that, he thought.
As it turned out, the bell never tolled for Bell this summer, so he took action on the thoughts he had while coming so close to death.
Bell is now a volunteer assistant coach for the Costa Mesa High football team. He said he came to the Mustangs on a whim — and it appears Costa Mesa is grateful for that. The Mustangs now have a former NFL pro coaching them, one who will be working with the running backs and linebackers this season.