Ex-Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell Has Blunt Admission About Playing Career

Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after rushing for a touchdown on January 14, 2018.

On Friday May 26, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell appeared on the Steel Here podcast and admitted that he “smoked” before playing in NFL games.

“When I was playing football, I smoked, bro. Even before the games, I smoked. And I would go out there and run for 150, two (touchdowns),” he told co-hosts Kevin Adams and Jersey Jerry.

“In the NFL?” Jerry interjected.

“Yeah,” confirmed Bell, who played for Pittsburgh between 2013-17 before sitting out a full season in a contract dispute with the Steelers. Later, he went on to continue his career with the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens.

Le’Veon Bell Was Twice Suspended by the NFL

Bell also went on to discuss the August 2014 DUI that got him suspended two games for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse in 2015.

“Looking back on it, damn, I wish I was just smarter about it — like the whole situation. Me being young and in Pittsburgh. The way I got caught was crazy. The cop was on a motorcycle and me and LeGarrette Blount had already smoked,” he said, referring to his former teammate, who was himself suspended for one game, having been a passenger in the car.

As it happens, Bell was suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy again in 2016, which he says the Steelers held over him in subsequent contract negotiations.

The Michigan State product (selected No. 48 overall in the 2nd round in 2013) last played for the Steelers in 2017 and hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2021 season. According to StatMuse, Bell appeared in 96 regular-season games over the course of 10 NFL seasons, rushing the ball 1,595 times for 6,554 yards with 42 rushing touchdowns. He also caught a total of 399 passes for 3,289 yards with nine touchdown receptions, earning Pro Bowl honors three times.

Last year he embarked on a boxing career, beginning with a Sept. 2022 exhibition in which he knocked out former NFL All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson. He’s also floated the idea of getting in the ring ex-Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

Le’Veon Bell Has Advice for Najee Harris

In the aforementioned podcast episode (titled “What the Hell, Bell?”), Le’Veon Bell also offers unsolicited advice to current Steelers RB1 Najee Harris, who was recently ranked the 19th-best running back in the NFL by Pro Football Refence (PFF).

“He needs to lose weight. He is kind of like how I was when I first came into the league. When I first came in, I was probably like 235. He wants to be nimble, but he runs like a scat back, but not really…. He could shed a little bit just to be quicker, but he’s got something to him. I like the way he runs,” offered Bell.

“Harris has been solid throughout his NFL career. He’s rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons but did so with a sub-4.0 yards-per-carry average. So far, he’s been a product of his volume more than efficiency. We’ll see if he can take that next step in 2023,” wrote Trevor Sikkema of PFF.