Running back Beanie Wells does the weather at KPNX Wednesday afternoon, working in front of the "green screen" while the monitor shows how it looks on TV.
Growing up, it wasn't NFL stardom that drove the dreams of Beanie Wells, but instead a desire to be in front of the camera.
The original hope was acting – more specifically, to become "a movie star." Eventually, football became Wells' immediate path, but his other desires didn't die. At Ohio State, Wells' major was communications and by then, TV was the goal.
The NFL would come first, but finding a job in television would be on the other end of his career. So Wednesday, after appealing to local NBC affiliate KPNX (Ch. 12) to appear on its news team, Wells got a chance to report the weather on the 5 p.m. newscast.
With Wells sharing screen time with weatherman James Quiñones, the pair tag-teamed to talk about 100-plus-degree days.
"It was fun," Wells said afterward. "I was doing something I love to be doing, and something I plan on doing some day as a broadcaster."
Wells' eventual plans aren't specifically set to do the weather. Reporting sports is something he !is also interested in; he talked about possibly covering some Friday night high school football while still playing football himself as he builds up his experience.
Yet Wells looked natural during his Wednesday stint. He and Quiñones did a dry run of the weathercast before hand, with Wells trying out some of the lines he eventually used on air. He had done live TV outside a football setting before – Wells had an appearance on "Fox and Friends" during a New York trip while playing at Ohio State – but this was his first real opportunity on his own in front of the camera.
He joked about the heat – "It'll be 111 degrees on Thursday, too hot for me" – and he lobbied for fans to come to training camp – "In Flagstaff, I like that, 81 degrees, and I need you guys up there. On top of seeing practice, you can enjoy the beautiful weather."
The 21-year-old even zinged veteran anchor Mark Curtis. Curtis made a crack about being good in football and then said it was on Playstation, to which Wells replied, "Was that around back then?"
Wells took a turn talking to sports anchor Kevin Hunt about the plans of LeBron James, who is from the same Akron, Ohio, neighborhood as Wells. And the newscast wasn't Wells' only TV show of the day, since he appeared at the end of the cooking show that aired prior to the news.
Wells was hungry, and by being a celebrity taste-tester, he was guaranteed some of the steak and couscous being prepared.
"Dinner was great," Wells said later.
Wells is, by his own admission, more comfortable in Arizona compared to last year, when he "hated" being far from home as a rookie. He has bought a house, his young son Christian is now 10 months old, and he had no problem spending the bulk of his offseason here.
That comfort came across on camera as Wells plans for the future. And maybe, his success as a football player can still help him go the Jim Brown route and make him a post-NFL movie star after all.
"That," Wells said with a smile, "would be sweet."
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