Block Party: East Stars Discuss Hit

SAN ANTONIO — Call it the "Block Heard Around San Antonio." Or, just call it "the block" One player's vicious hit on another originally described by observers as a "decleate" has since become legendary around the Westin Hotel, where the players for Saturday's U.S. Army All American Bowl are housed.

The player: Penn State commitment, five-star wide receiver Chris Bell.

The victim: Florida State commitment, five-star safety Myron Rolle.

According to observers, Bell “decleated” Rolle on a block in one of the first practices for the East squad in preparation for Saturday's game. The apparent role reversal, with the offensive player delivering the devastating hit, remains in the minds of some of those involved.

When Bell was asked about the block on Rolle, fellow Penn State commitment Jared Odrick, who was sitting next to Bell in the media room, dropped to the floor and began to laugh and holler. Odrick immediately called to the next table, where Rolle was sitting for his input.

“Myron, Myron,” Odrick said in between hoots. “You need to get over here. They're talking about the block.”

Yes, “the block.”

Mere mention of “the block” brings awe to those who witnessed it. It also brings a few smiles and good-natured ribbings from some of the nation's elite football talent.

At first, Bell tried to downplay the hit in a likely attempt to save Rolle's dignity, but Odrick wouldn't let that happen.

“It was a block, but it unexpected,” Bell said with a grin he tried to hide, but failed miserably. “We weren't even supposed to go hard.”

Odrick signaled for the tape recorder to give his commentary.

“That was the best block, the best hit, all week and I probably won't see any better than that all week, thank you,” Odrick said like an evening newscaster.

Now standing over Bell's shoulder, Rolle tried to mitigate the double assault to his ego by both Bell and Odrick.

“Chris Bell is a great player, but that was cheap though,” Rolle joked in an obviously fake serious tone. “He only did that because I shut him down on one-on-ones.”

Rolle continued the rebuttal.

“I heard you decommitted, and are coming to Florida State,” Rolle said to Bell with a grin on his face.

After Rolle left, Bell set up the play that ultimately led to “the block,” but not before Odrick was asked whether he ever joked with Rolle about picking Florida State over Penn State.

“I don't think, no I never said that to him,” Odrick laughed after a sincere moment of thought. “Myron loves the Seminoles just like we love our Nittany Lions.”

With Rolle at the other end of the media room, the scene for “the block” was about to be set. Immediately, Bell had no qualms of incriminating a coconspirator.

“Well, we started out, we weren't supposed to be going hard, but Myron was going hard on one-on-ones against me and the other receivers,” Bell said. “Percy Harvin, he had a whip-route and I had an end-route.”

The plan developed further.

“So, Myron was covering Percy at the time, and I told Percy if he set [Rolle] up, then I would come up and work him in. Percy set him up and he saw me coming but he couldn't react.”

The result?

“I wiped him out pretty much,” Bell said.

Both Odrick and Bell laughed, and seemed to posture themselves in a way that indicated “the block” brought some pride and respect for Penn State.

Bell was then asked whether the word “decleated” was an appropriate term to describe the block on Rolle.

“Yeah I would say so,” Bell once again chuckled. “[Rolle] kicked me in the back of the head when I hit him.”

In this case, “decleated” has multiple meanings.

By now, the grin was plastered on Bell's face. It was clear he felt a little embarrassed talking about “the block” partly because he did not want to paint Rolle in a bad light. In fact, Bell stated on numerous occasions that Rolle is an elite talent, but that in this instance, Bell came out on top.

Then Odrick instigated the discussion to continue.

“[Rolle] was level to the ground,” Odrick chimed in with an even bigger grin on his face than Bell. “His feet actually got higher in the air than his head did. He was level.”

The last word was had by Bell.

“I think that woke Myron Rolle up to that he's not the only all-star athlete here,” Bell once again laughed.


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