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Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Tatum Bell's alibi denies involvement

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

The Tatum Bell story has snaked into its second week of drama.

Monday, the mother of Bell's alibi -- ex-Detroit Lions defensive end Victor DeGrate -- told the Detroit News that her son had nothing to do with the purloined bags of running back Rudi Johnson.

Tuesday, DeGrate himself told the Detroit Free Press: "I had nothing to do with it."

Bell has admitted to taking the bags from the Lions locker room last week after he was released, but he has told numerous media outlets that he believed the bags were DeGrate's. According to Bell's account, DeGrate had asked him to pick up his bags and drop them off with a female acquaintance.

Johnson has said he doesn't believe the story, and DeGrate refuted the account as well.

"The way I just figure, he got caught up in a jam and that was the best thing going at the time, was to say what he said," DeGrate told the Free Press.

We're not really sure where this story can go from here. Bell has made his case aggressively, but so far no one has stepped forward to corroborate. No one is pressing charges, so there isn't likely to be any legal ramifications. Ultimately, Bell will have to convince another NFL team that he is innocent, or is he going to have a hard time extending his career.