Matthews To Face Undrafted Rookie

With standout right tackle Jeff Otah out with a concussion, Byron Bell will start on Sunday against Clay Matthews and the Packers.

Undrafted rookie Byron Bell will make his NFL starting debut Sunday at right tackle when the Panthers host the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers at Bank of America Stadium.

Bell said coaches informed him Wednesday morning that he'll start over Jeff Otah, who suffered a concussion last Sunday against Arizona and is not expected to play.

"Sometimes it's unreal when you get to this point," Bell said. "But the one thing I've done is continue to work and learn from the guys and get in the playbook. I have to go out and perform Sunday."

Bell, who started for New Mexico at left tackle as a junior and senior and right tackle as a sophomore, will have to earn his league-minimum paycheck on Sunday.

He'll be facing plenty of heat from Packers Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews, who had 13.5 sacks last season.

Bell said he feels up to the challenge.

"I think I go out there and play physical and I play hard," Bell said. "I'm ready for the challenge. I have been put in opportunities in my life and I didn't let that stop me and I ain't gonna let this stop me neither."

Bell saw action on a handful of plays last week against Arizona when Otah came out for a breather.

The Panthers scored a touchdown on one of the drives he was in the game.

"I think I did fairly well, but I didn't play a lot of plays," Bell said. "But I got into the fire a little bit. I think at the end of the day, it's football. Go out there and put your hand in the dirt and stay in front of your man. Do as best as you can."

Bell said he's dedicating the game to the memory of his brother Isaiah, who died in a fire in 2007 when he was 8 years old.


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