While it’s not the death knell, as nobody is actually formally gone for good, today is a pretty significant one for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ ‘Killer Bs’ offense, a great and very talented group of players who may have been able to bring a championship back to Pittsburgh if they had a defense that could complement them when necessary—which they might have had if not for Ryan Shazier’s injury in 2017.
I’m sure you know where I’m going with this already, but the New York Jets announced yesterday that they would be releasing former Steelers All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell. While that move, as of this writing, hasn’t been officially made yet, it does mean that he is likely about to be unemployed.
He joins former teammate Antonio Brown on the proverbial unemployment line—not that either of them have any reason to be hurting for money any time soon, given the ample millions that they have made in their respective careers—leaving only Ben Roethlisberger still standing.
You can throw Martavis Bryant into the mix as well, the big wide receiver who was the first to have his career skid off the rails after being suspending multiple times due to drug suspensions. The Steelers ultimately traded him to the Raiders for a third-round pick, and he is currently serving another indefinite suspension.
As for Brown, he, too, is serving a suspension, this eight games stemming from his January arrest for assault the driver of a moving truck and for intimidating a witness who accused him of sexual harassment. Another woman—the original accuser—is still in the process of a lawsuit with him, and the league could exercise the right to administer further punishment against him if they so choose.
Bell, of course, has been suspended multiple times as well—the first for drugs, the second for failing to show up to a drug test. He has missed a lot of football due to suspensions, injuries, and voluntary absences.
Chances are pretty good that he will not seek employment this season, since the Jets will still be paying him, and he’s unlikely to receive a robust deal under the current circumstances. The main driving force behind him pursuing a team now would be to rebuild his market value, but he has already sat out a season before rather than play for $14 million under a franchise tag.
The Killer Bs offense with Bell, Brown, and Bryant, with Big Ben leading the way, was certainly fun to watch, and at their peak, they represented the greatest collection of offensive talent in the league at that time.
It’s just curious to see how relatively quickly it all fell apart, and where they are all now. There’s a good chance none of them play another snap in 2020. Meanwhile, the Steelers have stocked up on running backs and wide receivers and are sitting at 4-0 for the first time since the 1970s.