The Baltimore Ravens have released running back Le’Veon Bell, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, just over two months after the former Pittsburgh Steeler arrived in Baltimore.
Bell joined the Ravens’ practice squad in early September after injuries devastated their backfield, but struggled to return to All-Pro form, averaging only 2.7 yards per carry in Baltimore.
Since he spent the entire NFL offseason and preseason unsigned, it took Bell almost a month to get his “football legs,” as he put it last week, under him. He showed flashes of his former self during game day activations against the Denver Broncos in Week 4 and the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 6, when he scored his first touchdown of the season.
After an injury to Latavius Murray, Bell was promoted to the Ravens’ 53-man roster, but he struggled against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7, picking up only five yards on five carries.
He had his best game in Baltimore versus the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9, recording 48 yards on 11 carries, plus his second touchdown of the season. But a disappointing one-yard performance against the Miami Dolphins last week was to be Bell’s last as a Raven. He leaves the team with only 83 yards on 31 carries in five games, earning an overall grade of 61.6 from Pro Football Focus.
USA Today’s Josina Anderson indicated that Bell could rejoin the Ravens’ practice squad if he clears waivers, adding that multiple players returning from injury likely squeezed Bell out of his spot on the active roster.
Bell Posts Message to Baltimore
Despite his departure from Baltimore, Bell posted his appreciation for the Ravens and their fans on social media.
this hurts, but it’s been a blessing to be here to say the least, i’ve enjoyed every second of this short period & gotta whole new meaning of what this city is like & it’s a great place to be I appreciate Eric [DeCosta] & John Harbaugh for the opportunity to be called an Raven
Despite his former rivalry with the Ravens, Bell has embraced his time in Baltimore, constantly praising his coaches and teammates in press conferences.
“I’m grateful for everything that has happened to me in my career,” he said last week when asked about the opportunity to sign with the Ravens.
No Revenge Game Vs. Steelers
Bell’s reported release today means that, as of now, he will not have the opportunity for a revenge game against the Steelers later in the season. He has faced the Steelers since leaving Pittsburgh in a Week 16 matchup in 2019 as a member of the New York Jets, but averaged fewer than three yards per carry in that game.
But unlike his departures from previous teams, Bell’s release comes without animosity or controversy, so don’t rule out a return to Baltimore this season.
Bell admitted last week that it took a while for him to be fully integrated into the Ravens’ offense, but now that he’s learned the playbook, the Ravens would be smart to keep him around as long as possible. A lack of interest from NFL teams over the summer indicates that he’ll clear waivers, so he could back be on the practice squad by the end of the week.