“Fight me,” Bell posted after Paul knocked out Tyron Woodley on December 18, with Bell also questioning the boxing skills of Woodley, a former UFC welterweight champion.
Paul fired back at Bell’s comments, calling Bell a “clown” and encouraging Woodley to prove his boxing mettle against Bell in a future fight.
Bell came right back at Paul, telling him, “don’t run from the work.”
Woodley also responded to Bell’s original tweet, accusing the two-time All-Pro of “coat tailing” in pursuit of financial gain from a potential fight.
Bell responded by promising, “any revenue I would make for the fight I would donate to charity…every single dollar!”
Bell has earned over $45 million over the course of his eight seasons in the NFL, per Spotrac, most of which came from his 2019 deal with the New York Jets, which was the fourth-biggest running back contract in NFL history, according to Jason Hewitt of Sports Illustrated. In fact, his career earnings rank 19th all-time among NFL running backs, so it’s unlikely that Bell actually needs the purse from a big-money celebrity boxing match.
Bell’s History With Boxing
Bell has long held a passion for boxing, dating back to an October 2017 video posted by SportsCenter.
Bell also took up boxing to get in shape before the 2020 season with the Jets.
He would frequently train in overnight sessions with ex-U.S. Olympic trainer Don Somerville in Teaneck, New Jersey, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini. The training improved Bell’s foot speed and even earned Bell some praise from then-Jets head coach Adam Gase.
“I’d say he’s extremely motivated and in phenomenal shape,” said Gase in August 2020 just ahead of his final season in New York.
Bell carried his love of boxing with him to Baltimore this season, where he celebrated his second touchdown as a Raven with some boxing moves. Though he forgot to bring out the celebration for his first Ravens touchdown, both Bell and star quarterback Lamar Jackson showed off some shadow boxing after Bell reached the end zone against the Minnesota Vikings on November 7.
Bell’s NFL Future Uncertain
After his release by the Ravens in November, Bell’s future in the NFL is unclear, as he went unsigned during the 2021 offseason as well.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh hinted at a reunion with Bell at some point in the future, but the Ravens have since re-signed undrafted rookie running Nate McCrary and hosted several others for workouts on December 17, according to the league’s official transaction report.
A lack of interest from the NFL may inspire Bell to follow in the footsteps of retired running back and fellow ex-Jet Frank Gore. Gore lost to ex-NBA star Deron Williams in both athletes’ exhibition boxing debut on the same night that Paul knocked out Woodley.
A bout between Bell and either Paul or Woodley would certainly attract a lot of attention, as plenty of NFL fans have followed Bell throughout his career. Fans of the Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers have rooted both for and against Bell, as he spent time on both sides of that AFC North rivalry.