The 2015 season was a tumultuous one for Pittsburgh Steelers. Three games in, after starting 2-1, star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a knee injury and missed the next four games. Their surprising pass-catching weapon, Martavis Bryant, was suspended for the season. Pittsburgh was also forced to open its season without, arguably, their best player. They went 1-1 during Le’Veon Bell‘s two-game suspension (reduced from four) for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, stemming from an arrest for marijuana possession and DUI.
Just when it seemed they were getting back to full strength on offense, Bell took a season-ending blow. The injury came in Week 8 after catching a short pass from Roethlisberger in the second quarter versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Brought down on the sideline by linebacker Vontaze Burfict, Bell’s right knee extended to the outside and twisted under him. The MCL injury sidelined him for the next 10 games, including two postseason.
Two short years later, unbeknownst to the Steelers or Bell, after producing 2,559 yards and 16 scores, he’d suit up for his final game in the Black & Gold. He missed the entirety of the 2018 season due to a contract dispute and would go on to play for four different teams in the following years. He was never able to sniff the success he had in Pittsburgh.
In 2022, Bell shifted his focus from the gridiron to the boxing ring. What started with an exhibition fight versus former Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson became a full-time gig.
Bell knocked Peterson out, but there’s another former football player he’d much rather tangle with.
The football player-turned-boxer, appearing on the May 12, 2023 Misfits Boxing podcast, respectfully didn’t name names, but any true Steelers fan didn’t need him to.
During the interview, Bell was asked if there was one person he had to have “that moment” with. He hesitated for a moment, then smiled as his eyes lit up. “This person’s not a boxer. It’s someone from football.”
“They had purposely injured me. I don’t think I want to say the name, but people who watched my career when I hurt my knee, people know. Yeah, people know. I would love to put my hands on him in the ring.”
Bell, and several Steelers, accused Burfict of a dirty deed — intentionally trying to injure him.
On Sunday, May 14, Bell tweeted the clip saying, “Oh I Know THE REAL Steeler Fans KNOW This One For SUREEE.”
Ex-Bengals Vontaze Burfict, Adam “Pacman” Jones Respond to Le’Veon Bell
The tweet made its rounds, catching the eye of Vontaze Burfict’s former Cincinnati Bengals teammate Adam “Pacman” Jones. He reached out to Burfict, who said he’d fight Bell, but only MMA style.
Jones tweeted that he’d bet $100,000 on Burfict and that they could have the fight live on the Pat McAfee Show. Bell tweeted that he’d only box Burfict. In response, Burfict suggested they “squash beef” on the green instead of the ring.
“Why we lookin’ to fight,” Burfict wrote on Instagram. Why not show everyone WE can change the narrative. Let’s show the world WE can squash beef in other ways than boxing. Let’s meet and compete on the golf course. Get some charities involved so WE can help people in need and show kids that we resolved our differences to make the world a better place.”
Is this perhaps a sign that Burfict has matured? Or does he not want to be KO’d like Adrian Peterson? I think it’s the latter.