Borderline obsessed with the idea of people doubting him, Ward parlayed those sleights, factual or not, into what's likely to be a Hall of Fame career.
According to ESPN Steelers reporter Scott Brown, rookie running back Le'Veon Bell has something of the same obsession.
Bell mentioned after the Steelers selected him in the second round he grew up in a house full of Steelers fans. The CBS broadcasting team covering the Steelers vs. Jets game in Week 6 mentioned Bell himself was a Jets fan as a kid. Through the mixed fandom, Bell emerged as an outstanding player in Ohio State's backyard; Columbus.
Bell told Brown he went to all the Buckeyes home games, but never received an offer from the school. In fact, his only two scholarship offers from BCS schools were from Michigan State (where he ended up playing) and Colorado.
Brown also pointed out Bell wanted to declare early so he could graduate early and get ready for college ball. Perhaps his early commitment was the reason he didn't receive a scholarship offer.
It doesn't seem to matter, though. Bell is using it as fuel to his inferiority complex - a weapon many athletes use to feed their work ethic.
"I don’t know why I was overlooked," Bell said to Brown in regards to his lack of an offer from the hometown Buckeyes. He also added, in a statement as reminiscent of Ward as the No. 86, "I always kept this chip on my shoulder because of that. I’ve still got it from going in the second round of the draft."
If the alleged disrespect shown to Bell by the lack of a scholarship offer to Ohio State and only being one of the first 50 players selected in the 2013 draft are one day seen in the same breath as the previous well-known facts, it will be worth the shots being thrown at Bell now.