Former Baltimore Ravens running back Le’Veon Bell may have challenged Jake Paul to a fight on December 19, but he’ll have to put his boxing career on hold after being signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 21.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero was the first to report Bell’s signing, which comes after a slew of injuries to the Buccaneers offense during their Week 15 loss to the New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay lost star wide receiver Chris Godwin for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL, per Heavy’s DJ Siddiqi, and fellow wideout Mike Evans is week-to-week with a hamstring strain, according to Heavy’s Matthew Davis.
Davis also reported that Buccaneers star running back Leonard Fournette could miss a game or two after tweaking his hamstring against the Saints, but the injury is not considered major.
Still, Fournette’s absence likely inspired Tampa Bay to reach out to Bell, who will join the Buccaneers this week pending a physical exam.
Bell spent the first half of the 2021 season in Baltimore after signing with the Ravens’ practice squad on September 7 in wake of injuries to three running backs. He appeared in five games as a Raven, scoring two touchdowns but averaging just 2.7 yards per carry, per Pro Football Reference.
Up-and-Down Tenure in Baltimore
Bell’s original signing with the Ravens sparked a lot of excitement in on both sides, especially at the idea of pairing the two-time All-Pro with superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson.
But it took Bell several weeks for him to get his “football legs,” forcing him to miss a potential revenge game against his last team, the Kansas City Chiefs. Bell ultimately made his first appearance for the Ravens against the Denver Broncos in Week 4, but he didn’t find the end zone until Week 6 against the Los Angeles Chargers. He was then promoted to the Ravens’ 53-man roster.
Bell had his best game as a Raven in Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings, carrying the ball 11 times for 48 yards and his second touchdown of the season. But after Latavius Murray returned from injury, Bell was deemed surplus to requirements in Baltimore and released.
His lack of contribution to the Ravens’ passing game was the most disappointing part of his tenure in Baltimore, as he only made one reception in five games.
Bell Chasing 1st Super Bowl
Bell was on the Chiefs when they faced the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV, but he did not play in the game, nor did Kansas City win the game.
Currently, the Buccaneers sit in third place in the NFC with a 10-4 record that leads the NFC South, with quarterback Tom Brady putting up yet another MVP-caliber season.
Even after losing Godwin for the rest of the season, the experienced Buccaneers still have a solid chance at reaching their second consecutive Super Bowl.
Despite their loss to the Saints, Tampa Bay still has the third-best odds of winning Super Bowl LVI, per Fox Sports Radio’s Ryan Burschinger, behind only the Chiefs and Green Bay Packers, who beat the Ravens on December 19.
While Bell wasn’t able to stay with the Ravens this season, he’ll hope to help the Buccaneers secure a playoff spot in the coming weeks.