It seems like this could be the end of the road for a polarizing star.
Former New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell is ready to switch careers at 30 years of age. He is set to fight future Pro Football Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson in an exhibition boxing match on July 30.
If it is up to Bell, that won’t be the last time he squares off in the ring.
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Didn’t Live up to the Hype
At the pre-fight press conference this week, Bell went into more details about his future plans via NFL dot com:
“It’s been a challenge I’ve been willing to accept, something I took on. Boxing is something that, you know, they always say it’s something you can’t play boxing. Last year, I almost sat out the whole year to try to focus on boxing because I kind of knew that was what I wanted to transition to. This year, I know I’m not going to be playing this year because I want to focus on boxing. So, this transition for me has kind of been like, I guess, another opportunity for me. I’m just ready to showcase what I’m about. This is not just a one-off. This is, I guess like my introduction to kind of show what I’ll be doing and how I’ll be going about myself. Just an intro.”
Bell confirmed that he won’t be playing football in 2022 and said that he almost sat out last season to focus on a boxing career.
He didn’t come outright and say he is retiring, but the talented running back certainly hinted at it throughout the presser.
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Bell also shared a lengthy post on his Instagram where he declared a career change, “I’ve managed to embrace ALL of it, and use it as motivation to prove TO MYSELF I’m gonna be the BEST as I shift my focus solely to my new sport, boxing.”
The former Michigan State product is most well known for his five-year run with the Pittsburgh Steelers. During that span, Bell was a two-time first-team All-Pro and earned three Pro Bowl nominations.
After an ugly standoff that required him to sit out the entire 2018 campaign, Bell cashed in a big way during the 2019 free agency period.
The Jets threw over $52.5 million to lure Bell to New York and the move was met with tons of fanfare and high expectations.
Sadly things never worked out for a variety of reasons and just a year and a half into the contract he was dumped on the side of the street.
It was another sad cautionary tale in the long history of Jets free agent busts.
What He Was Supposed to Be
Bell was supposed to be a dynamic playmaker contributing to both the running and the receiving game.
Although his year away from the game, aging body, and constant clashing with the coaching staff all resulted in a disappointing tenure.
However the same can’t and won’t be said for running back Breece Hall. Back in April, he became the highest drafted running back by the Jets in over 30 years.
It seems like offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur has a clear plan on how he wants to utilize Hall in his rookie season and beyond.
Hall will immediately become the RB1 in the backfield with Michael Carter as a distant second playing in a sidekick role.
When you factor in all of the other offensive additions at wide receiver, tight end, and most importantly on the offensive line you can see how things could pop in 2022.
The talented runner mixed in with the rich history of the Shanahan philosophies should marry beautifully. So much so that experts consistently have Hall ranked among the favorites to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2022.