Byron Michael Bell (born January 17, 1989) is a former American footballoffensive tackle. He played college football at New Mexico, and was signed by the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent in 2011.
Bell attended Greenville High School, where he played offensive tackle for the Lions football team. He also was a Golden Gloves boxer, but gave up the sport as a senior, when he started being recruited by colleges. He received All-state honors as a senior.
He accepted a football scholarship from the University of New Mexico. As a freshman, he played in one game and missed the rest of the season with a knee injury. The next year, he started 12 games at right tackle, while allowing only 3 sacks and helping the team to average 204.9 rushing yards per game, ranking third in the conference and 16th in the nation.
As a junior, he was moved to left tackle and started 12 games, but was a part of a team that only won one contest. As a senior, he started 12 games and received the team’s outstanding offensive lineman award, but the team again won only one contest. He finished his college career after appearing in 37 games with 36 starts.
After going undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft, Bell signed with the Carolina Panthers. As a rookie, he was named the starter at right tackle in the second game after Jeff Otah sustained a concussion in the season opener. He returned to a backup role until the seventh game, when Otah was placed on injured reserve because of a knee and back injury. Bell appeared in 16 games with 12 starts.
In 2012, he opened as the team’s first-string right tackle ahead of Otah in Organized Team Activities and remained in that role after Otah was traded on July 23. He started at right guard in the sixth game against the Dallas Cowboys and moved back to tackle for the rest of the season. He appeared 16 games with 15 starts.
In 2013, he played 16 games with 14 starts at right tackle, but struggled in pass protection. Against the Buffalo Bills, he allowed 3.5 sacks (part of a 4.5 sack record for a Panthers opponent) against defensive endMario Williams in a 23–24 loss. The following week he bounced back and did not allow a sack in a 38–0 win against the New York Giants.
In 2014, with the retirement of Jordan Gross, he was thrust into the left tackle position. He started 17 games including two playoff contests, but struggled even more than in the previous year. He missed the ninth game against the New Orleans Saints with a knee injury. He wasn’t re-signed after the season.