If his social media feed is any true indication of how he’s feeling at the moment, former Pittsburgh Steelers’ star running back Le’Veon Bell is learning the hard way that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere in the NFL.
After turning down a lucrative contract offer twice from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bell eventually signed a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the New York Jets in March 2019, eventually going on to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated raving about his new deal and how the Steelers didn’t want to pay him what he was worth.
Fast forward a little over two full years later and Bell is on the street as a free agent with significant wear and tear on his body at a position that is viewed as fungible in the NFL.
Maybe, just maybe, he’s regretting not sticking around with a stable organization.
Since that day in March, Bell saw himself cut a year and a half into his big deal with the Jets, blaming his usage and poor play on former Jets head coach Adam Gase before eventually signing with offensive mastermind Andy Reid in Kansas City.
Now, after not playing a single snap in the Super Bowl and remaining available this late into free agency, it’s now Reid’s fault.
— Elliott Duncan (@Elliott_Duncan) June 12, 2021
To see Bell say he’ll never play for one of the greatest coaches in NFL history again and would rather retire first is, in a word, hilarious. It’s always someone else’s fault with Bell, which is sad. First, it was the Steelers’ fault for not paying him what he was worth (they offered him a pretty similar contract that the Jets offered), then it was the Jets’ fault for his usage and poor play, and now it’s Reid’s fault for his disappointment in Kansas City and inability to now find a job.
It’s a shame to see this fall from grace with Bell. He was arguably the best back in football during his time in the black and gold, and now he can’t even land a job (at the moment) for the veteran minimum.
Since leaving the Steelers in 2017 (he sat out the 2018 season remember?), Bell has carried the football 327 times for 1,090 yards (3.33 yards per carry) and five rushing touchdowns, adding 82 receptions for 599 yards (7.3 yards per catch) and one score. Compare those to his numbers in Pittsburgh over five seasons (1,229 carries for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns, 312 receptions for 2,660 yards and seven touchdowns) and it is absolutely staggering to see how quickly Bell has fallen off.
While he wanted to change the game for running backs and reset the market, instead what Bell did was become a cautionary tale to younger backs, showing them that the situations they’re having success in might not always be better elsewhere, regardless of the money.
Bell received bad advice from agent Adisa Bakari, advice that is now potentially costing him his career in the NFL. Undoubtedly for Le’Veon Bell, the grass isn’t always greener.