It’s been two-and-a-half months since the start of unrestricted free agency and former Pittsburgh Steelers/New York Jets/Kansas City Chiefs running back Le’Veon Bell remains unsigned. Not only that, no NFL teams are rumored to be interested in the two-time former first-team All-Pro (2014, 2017). This isn’t to say that Bell won’t be able to catch on with a team in August or September after injuries begin taking their toll on the league’s running backs. Yet there doesn’t seem to be any market for Bell, which perhaps explains his recent tweet storm, in which he replied to followers who had the audacity to question his past decisions in free agency and imply that he is washed up.
Le’Veon Bell Insists 2021 Will Be a Comeback Year
Bell kicked things off by promising how 2021 will be the year when NFL fans are reminded of his prodigious talent.
One fantasy football enthusiast took the opportunity to note that Bell makes that promise every year, but hasn’t done much since he played for the Steelers … four years ago.
In fact, since leaving the Steelers following the 2017 season, Bell has appeared in 26 total games—17 for the Jets and nine for the Chiefs—and rushed for just 1,117 yards and five rushing touchdowns, plus 599 receiving yards. All of those totals are below what he produced in his last single-season in Pittsburgh.
Bell’s explanation is that he simply hasn’t had the same “opportunity” (that is, touches) since leaving the Steel City and suggests he would be better off playing for “a defensive minded head coach,” as opposed to one of those “offensive minded guru’s.”
Maybe. But Bell hasn’t looked the same since he sat out all of 2018 because he wasn’t willing to play for the one-year franchise tender of $14.5 million. Nor would he accept Pittsburgh’s long-term contract offer—five years and $70 million.
He ended up signing with the Jets for significantly less (four years and $52.5 million), but was released just 17 games into his tenure, at which point he signed on with the Chiefs in hopes of getting the Super Bowl ring he found elusive in Pittsburgh. Predictably, he took a shot at Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during his introductory press conference in Kansas City, saying, “I’ve never played” with a league MVP, making reference to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Bell: ‘I’ll Sign Somewhere When I’m Ready’
Now Bell insists he’ll only sign with a team when he’s ready. He promises there will be “no more finessing [him] with lies” just to get him to sign. There will be “no more rushed decisions on my end, period,” he insists.
But someone will have to make him an offer first, which may not come readily considering that he is now 29 years old and averaged just 37 rushing yards per game with the Jets last year. The Chiefs didn’t use him all that much either; he averaged 28.2 rushing yards per game in Kansas City, despite being surrounded with an all-star cast of offensive weapons, led by the aforementioned Mahomes.
If Bell can’t get another job in 2021, he’ll finish his career having played in 88 total games, with 1,556 carries, 6,453 yards and 40 rushing touchdowns. In addition, he has recorded 394 receptions for 3,259 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 2014, 2016 and 2017, having entered the league in 2013 as a second-round pick of the Steelers (No. 48 overall) out of Michigan State.
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