The Baltimore Ravens have activated running back Le’Veon Bell from the practice squad ahead of their Week 4 matchup with the Denver Broncos, setting the stage for the All-Pro’s first game with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ league-leading rushing offense.
The Ravens signed Bell to the practice squad on September 7 following season-ending injuries to J.K. Dobbins, and Justice Hill, with Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray joining a few days later after Gus Edwards tore his ACL.
Despite his impressive pedigree, Bell was not elevated for any of the Ravens’ first three regular season games, likely because he did not participate in any team’s training camp or preseason games. Now that he’s spent a month learning the Ravens’ offense and returning to playing form, Bell will look to give the already-potent Ravens’ offense an early-season boost against a Broncos defense that has allowed the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL.
Bell will join Freeman, Murray and Ty’Son Williams in the Baltimore backfield on Sunday, though it’s unclear if all four will be active against the Broncos.
Expect Bell to play a role in the Ravens’ passing game, as Freeman and Murray have yet to record a reception this season. With sharp route-running, reliable hands and pass-blocking prowess, Bell could add another dimension to an offense that gained the fourth-most yards in the season’s first three weeks.
Ravens Fans React to Bell’s Activation
Ravens fans have long been excited at the tantalizing prospect of Le’Veon Bell lining up in the same backfield as Lamar Jackson.
At the height of his powers with the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers, Bell was widely considered one of the best running backs in the NFL. Though he didn’t look as impressive with the New York Jets or the Kansas City Chiefs in the last two seasons, even a semblance of his previous form will be tough to defend in the Ravens’ dynamic offense.
Bell will likely be eased into action against the Broncos, as he hasn’t played since a January 17 playoff game with the Chiefs.
Ravens Place Derek Wolfe on IR
The Ravens also placed defensive end Derek Wolfe on the injured reserve list, which will hold the veteran out for at least three games. The former Bronco has yet to play this season after suffering injuries to his hip and back during joint practices with the Carolina Panthers in August.
Defensive back Kevon Seymour and offensive tackle Andre Smith were also activated from the practice squad.
Seymour was signed two weeks ago after an injury to preseason breakout Chris Westry further depleted the Baltimore secondary. With six Ravens defensive backs listed as questionable on this week’s injury report, Seymour will likely see the field in a rotational capacity against a depleted Broncos offense.
With left tackle Ronnie Stanley still struggling with an injury setback, Smith will serve as the Ravens’ swing tackle on Sunday, as he did last week against the Detroit Lions. Smith spent training camp in Baltimore before being cut and re-signed to the practice squad to provide depth to the injured offensive line.
Wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin will not play against the Broncos despite returning to practice from injury this week. Though many Ravens fans were looking forward to Bateman, a 2021 first-round pick, making his debut, the team appears to be taking the cautious approach with the rookie wideout rather than risking additional injury.