For 22 days now, the Jets linebacker has been the target of his teammates as part of the “No Shave November” fad as he has been growing a beard and has refused to touch his burgeoning growth. Now itchy and thick, Bellore needs to endure a little more than a week before he can think about trimming let alone shaving the beard. It is a burden he feels he carries for the Jets team because of the sheer awesomeness of his facial hair.
“[Nick] Mangold has a nice beard but mine is darker which I think is better – it is better,” Bellore told The Jets Blog.
“There aren’t a lot of guys on this team who have the capability to grow a beard like this, of this caliber, so I feel the responsibility to do it. It is a one-man team. You’d think on a team of full grown men they could pull off a decent beard but I just don’t see it. Look for yourself.”
For those keeping track, Bellore often sports some sort of facial hair from the occasional goatee to a five o’clock shadow and now the full beard. After the aforementioned Mangold and left guard Matt Slauson, Bellore stands out on a Jets team that is rather clean-shaven for the most part.
He said that the beard has the blessing of quarterback Tim Tebow, himself clean shaven. “He does like it, obviously,” Bellore said.
As he sits on his stool outside his locker, he sneaks in a quick itch of the beard every now and then as he talks about its superiority. It is a beard that he says brings out the jealousy in his teammates.
“I don’t hear too much talk but I know, I’m sure people are jealous. There are haters,” Bellore said. “Look at B.T. [Bryan Thomas], he can only get it down to the jawline. It’s a little patchy up top. Same with Bart [Scott]. There’s beard envy, it is clearly obvious.”
At the end of the month, Bellore would like to make a contribution to charity to commemorate “No Shave November.”
Growing a beard has been a Nick Bellore tradition since 15 years old. He said it will continue even through Thanksgiving with his family in town. They probably won’t like it, he said, “but it is what I must do at this point. It is the burden I bear.”
The beard does have its limitations and drawbacks, including with the ladies in his life. The reception hasn’t been so great among the members of his female fan club.
“Terrible. Not good. It’s not conducive to that at all. I have to bite the bullet for a month then I can trim it,” Bellore said.
“I feel isolated right now in this locker room. Again, everyone is so jealous of what I’m doing here. It isn’t easy being on top.”
Bellore leans back on his stool and scratches his neck again, this time a little more vigorously. It is going to be a long nine days.
Kristian R. Dyer is a Jets beat reporter for Metro New York and contributes to The Jets Blog. Follow him at @KristianRDyer for Jets breaking news and info from Florham Park.