Friday, March 27, 2015

D-E-M-E-T-R-E-S-S. What's in a name?

Demetress, who used to be Demetrius, Bell

D-E-M-E-T-R-E-S-S. What's in a name?

Howard Mudd played a key role in the changing of Demetress Bell´s name. (David Duprey/AP)
Howard Mudd played a key role in the changing of Demetress Bell's name. (David Duprey/AP)

The legend of Howard Mudd grows. We already knew that he was a molder of men, a mad scientist among offensive line coaches, and the inspiration for a frequently hilarious fake Twitter feed called @HowardMuddFacts.

Now we know this: that it was Mudd who insisted that his newly-signed left tackle, Demetress Bell, fix the spelling of his first name and change it from the incorrect "Demetrius."

"It was at dinner," Bell was saying Thursday, at his introductory press conference. Right at the start, Mudd asked him how to pronounce his name correctly. He asked if it was "Duh-MEE-tree-us" or "Duh-MEE-trus," and Bell told him it was the latter, and then Bell told him the rest of the story.

For his whole life, Bell had spelled it "Demetrius." But at some point, he got a look at his birth certificate and it was spelled "Demetress."

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"I didn't care," Bell said. "That's how I learned to spell it growing up. That's how I spelled it until I looked at my birth certificate...When did I? I don't know. It was probably when I went to college. You don't look at your birth certificate until you have to take it to school. I'm sure it was right around that time."

Whatever and whenever, it was Mudd who insisted that it be fixed. So the coach went to the Eagles' public relations department and it was fixed. The name was spelled correctly in all of the team releases on the signing of Bell to replace the injured Jason Peters, and it was spelled correctly on a souvenir football that Bell clutched after the press conference was over.

In all, it was Muddian multitasking of the highest order. He will change Bell's technique in pass protection and he will change the spelling of his name, and he will do it all with the wave of the cane he used last year following mid-season hip surgery.

Meanwhile, Demetress Bell laughed.

"You make me feel like Chad Ochocinco," he said. "..It's really not a big deal."

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at Reach Rich at

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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