The 21-year-old from Norfolk, Va., faces charges including terroristic threats and simple assault, both misdemeanors, after the encounter Monday night at a team dining facility. No one was hurt.
In a one-sentence statement, Penn State's athletic department said, "Chris Bell, who had been previously suspended from team activities, is permanently removed from the team and will not be reconsidered to be a part of the team in the future."
Defensive end Devon Still told police he had spoken with Bell earlier Monday and suspected that the backup receiver had taken a cell phone case from his locker, according to the criminal complaint. Bell denied the accusations.
Bell later challenged Still in the dining hall to take a cell phone case from him and pulled an 8-inch knife from his shirt sleeve, police said. Three assistant coaches restrained Bell and took the knife, police said.
Bell later voluntarily went to the campus police station and told investigators he had the knife because he feared for his safety, the complaint said.
Bell was arraigned Monday night and sent to Centre County prison in lieu of $50,000 bail. A court clerk said he was also eligible for supervised bail, meaning Bell did not have to post money. He was released from jail Tuesday afternoon.
Bell was also charged with recklessly endangering another person, harassment and two counts of disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors, and one count of summary harassment.
Bell started the first two games of the 2007 season but saw little playing time, catching seven passes for 143 yards.
A court employee said Bell did not have a lawyer at his arraignment. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for April 16.
The athletic department cited academics and off-field issues in announcing Bell's suspension in February. The arrest marked another distraction for a program that has had a yearlong string of off-field troubles.