OXNARD, Calif. - The nerd in Tony Romo runs deep, so it is no surprise that he is both a fan of the TV show "Saved By the Bell", and befriended one of its stars. The shocker is that wide receiver Dez Bryant and Terrell Owens were both Bell fans, and are also tight Principal Belding.
Actor Dennis Haskins, who played Belding, was at the final full day of Cowboys' training camp to watch his friends practice, and Terrell Owens watch. T.O. was here, too.
(This photo is via @DallasCowboys twitter feed).
"I got to know Tony through a guy named Ryan Cabrera; those two were friends," Belding Haskins told me. "And we all went out one night, and Tony was a fan of Saved by the Bell. I've liked him. I have been watching him and I thought he was really, really good. This was the year of the snap (the bobbled hold on the field goal attempt in the playoff loss at Seattle early in 2007). He said to me, 'I'm really, really sorry.' He felt bad.
"All of that has gone away. We were at a concert for MetalSkool, and he got me on stage. And then Tony got up. None of us thought they were video taping the thing."
"It went viral. (ESPN announcer) Trey Wingo called me and said, 'Do you know you are on the Internet with Tony? We buddied up and last year I was at LAX. And Dez Bryant is there, and getting swarmed by kids. I asked somebody who it was, and then I looked at him and said, 'Hey ...I'm a friend of ...' and before I could get the rest out he screams, 'Mr. Belding!' He stops and took pictures with me."
The timing makes sense. All three of these players are of the generation they would have watched this show, and thus would immediately recognize one of its longest-running characters. And both Haskins and Owens are alums of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
"Terrell and I have become friends. He's a really good guy. He is here with his kids," Haskins said. "I have seen him do things with people no one will ever know about. He is a wonderful guy."
Haskins was busy taking pictures with fans who still easily recognize him from "Saved By the Bell", which went off the air in 1993. He reprised his role as Belding in "Saved By the Bell: The New Class", which aired from 1993 to 2000.
Facebook Mac Engel