In 2017, Le’Veon Bell was widely considered the best running back in the NFL. Bell finished the season making his second First-Team All-Pro and third Pro Bowl. He had a career-high in carries, rushing touchdowns, and catches. Unfortunately for the Steelers, they lost in the divisional round 45-42 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But fortunately for Le’Veon Bell, it appeared a big payday would be in his near future.
Fast-forward to the 2018 off-season, and the Steelers once again placed the franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell. In doing so, the Steelers put the proverbial nail in the coffin on their relationship. Instead of signing the franchise tag, Le’Veon elected to sit out the 2018 season until the Steelers rescinded the tag or signed him long-term. News flash neither ended up happening. The Steelers went on to miss the post-season, and Le’Veon Bell missed a year of playing.
On March 13th of 2019, Le’Veon Bell signed a four-year $52.5 million deal with the Jets. A decision Le’Veon would go on to regret. After only 17 total games, none of which were good, the Jets released Le’Veon upon failure to trade him. Shortly after his release, the Chiefs signed Bell for the remainder of the season. A decision that on paper seemed like a great idea given Le’Veon’s versatility, but didn’t quite pan out. In fact, according to Le’Veon himself, he’d rather retire than play for Andy Reid again.
Le’Veon Bell took to an Instagram comment section saying, “I’ll never play for Andy Reid again…I’d retire first.”
Since then, Le’Veon (sort of) apologized via Twitter rant.
I’ll admit that’s somethin I could’ve and should’ve kept to myself & I apologize about that and that only… but I don’t regret what I said, because that’s how I feel…— Le’Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) June 14, 2021
Chiefs All-Pro star safety Tyrann Mathieu took to Twitter himself where he blasted Le’Veon for his comments.
These fellas will blame everybody for their lack of success. That’s how I know I’m built different— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) June 13, 2021
Le’Veon Bell’s comments come as a shock given the history of Andy Reid. Regarded as one of the most player-friendly coaches in the league, it’s hard to find someone who has a negative comment to make about the Super Bowl-winning coach. At the moment, we can only speculate as to why Le’Veon said what he said, but what’s crystal clear is that there’ll be no second go around with the Chiefs.
A Fall From Grace
Just four seasons ago, Le’Veon Bell was regarded as the best overall running back in football. But given what we’ve seen from Le’Veon since then, it appears his best years are behind him.
2017 Stats: 15 games, 321 carries, 1,291 rushing yards, 85 catches, 655 receiving yards, 11 total touchdowns
2018-2020 Stats: 26 games, 327 carries, 1,117 rushing yards, 98 catches, 599 receiving yards, six total touchdowns
Three seasons ago, Le’Veon Bell decided to sit out a season due to a contract dispute. I don’t begrudge players for trying to make all the money they can, especially if they’re a running back. And though Le’Veon did get a good chunk of money from the Jets, his career has completely derailed. When we talk about the 10 best running backs in football, Le’Veon is no longer mentioned. Adam Gase probably deserves a good amount of blame for this, but given Le’Veon’s recent comments, he might need to shoulder some of the blame as well.
As of now, at just age 29, Le’Veon sits at home waiting for a phone call. If he gets one, it’ll probably be due to an in-camp or mid-season injury. But the days of Le’Veon Bell being considered *that dude* appear to be over.