Ravens Signing Former Steelers All-Pro Running Back: Report

Le'Veon Bell Jets

Getty Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoffs.

On Monday the Baltimore Ravens worked out former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. A day later, ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter reports that the Ravens are signing Bell to the team’s practice squad, with an eye toward adding him to the 53-man roster.

Bell has been an unrestricted free agent since his Kansas City Chiefs contract expired earlier this year. There was little to no interest in the former All-Pro back during the free agency period, but Baltimore is desperate for help at the position, thanks to a pair of season-ending injuries.

First it was RB1 J.K. Dobbins, who went down with knee injury in the team’s preseason finale against Washington. Then third-year running back Justice Hill suffered a torn Achilles during practice last Thursday.

That leaves Baltimore with just two running backs on its active roster, those being Gus Edwards and Ty’Son Williams. Most teams would be in even worse shape having lost two of their top four backs. Except Edwards had 144 carries for 723 yards and six touchdowns last season in just six starts, rushing for an average of 5.0 yards per carry. And Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is an ever-present rushing threat in his own right. Last year Jackson had 159 carries for 1,005 yards and seven rushing touchdowns.

On the other hand, if the Ravens end up having to give Bell significant carries it probably won’t bode well for the team’s running game. Bell, who will turn 30 in February, is four years removed from his last Pro Bowl season, one in which he gained 1,291 rushing yards for the Steelers. One of the linemen blocking for him that year is now with the Ravens, that being offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who inked a two-year deal with Baltimore in free agency back in May.

After sitting out the entire 2018 season in a contract dispute with the Steelers, Bell signed a four year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets. But he played just 17 games in a New York uniform before the Jets made an unsuccessful effort to trade him. After being released, the Chiefs signed Bell as an unrestricted free agent.

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Baltimore Worked Out Yet Another Former Steeler on Tuesday

Le’Veon Bell isn’t the only former Steelers player who had a tryout with the Ravens recently. Per veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson, Baltimore worked out cornerback Stephen Denmark on Tuesday.

The Steelers signed Denmark (a 2019 seventh-round pick of the Chicago Bears) in January, but the team jettisoned him in its first round of cuts on Aug. 17.

Another former Steelers player got a workout on Tuesday, as inside linebacker Tegray Scales was one of five players to get called in by the Houston Texans. Scales has been looking for a new NFL home since playing in four games for the Steelers in 2020. He signed with the Browns on Aug. 25 before getting cut six days later.

Former Steelers Offensive Tackle Derwin Gray Available, Again

Last December, the Steelers lost offensive tackle Derwin Gray after the Jaguars claimed him on waivers. (Coincidentally, Gray was waived to make space on the team for the aforementioned Scales.) This summer Gray has spent time with both the Jaguars and Tennessee, but hasn’t been able to stick with either team, having his contract terminated by the Titans on Tuesday.

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