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Five weeks ago, Bessemer’s Nick Bell had just emerged as a starting defensive end for Mississippi State in his quest to one day play in the NFL. Tuesday, the Birmingham and Starkville communities mourned his death after a brief bout with cancer.

Ten days ago, Bell returned to Starkville and watched Mississippi State’s victory over UAB from the sideline with the hopes of playing again. Tuesday, those touched by Bell — ranging from high school to college to the NFL — came to grips with his sudden passing.

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