Former All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell shouldn’t be burning bridges nowadays. The 29-year-old former Jet, Steeler, and Chief took to Instagram this last night and when asked by a fan whether or not he’d return to the Chiefs next season, Bell replied: “I’ll never play for Andy Reid again…I’d retire first.”
Le’Veon Bell has a history of calling out his former teams. Bell has taken to social media several times claiming that the Steelers should’ve paid him when they had the chance. Bell famously sat out the final year of his contract with Pittsburgh in the hopes that they would give him an extension worth the amount of money he believed he was worth. That didn’t happen. Bell was forced to take a smaller contract than he was offered with the Steelers, and had to play for the Jets… gross.
Bell’s tenure with the Jets went over about as well as most holiday family gatherings. There were hopes that Bell could maintain the dominance he’d seen as Pittsburgh’s lead back the first four years of his career, but those hopes were quickly squashed when everyone realized just how much the Steelers’ O-line benefitted Bell. Bell’s decline in production with New York wasn’t entirely his fault. The Jets franchise was in despair and the coaching staff definitely did not use Bell to the best of his ability. Nevertheless, Bell’s time in New York quickly came to an end after rumors began circulating that Bell was demanding to be traded. The only problem was that New York was paying Bell an average salary of $13,125,000, and Bell was producing just 3.3 yards per carry and 50.8 yards per game while in Jets green. Why would anyone pay that much money for that level of production? Ultimately, the Jets released Bell after Bell liked some tweets criticizing the Jets’ coaching staff on their usage of Bell.
Bell was picked up by the Chiefs soon after — a great opportunity for Bell to win his first Super Bowl ring. Bell was hoping that teaming up with offensive-minded coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes would give him more opportunities for carries and routes. After all, Bell’s competition for carries on the Chiefs in 2020 was: a rookie (first-round, but still) and Darrell Williams. The Chiefs leading rusher from 2019 opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns. It was a perfect storm for Bell… on paper. In reality, Bell rushed just 63 times in nine games for 254 yards and two touchdowns. He also received less than two targets per game with the Chiefs. His usage dropped further come playoff time. Even though the Chiefs made it to the Super Bowl, Bell appeared in just one game and rushed only twice for six yards.
Bell’s lack of usage is likely the reason Bell does not want to return to Kansas City. However, at this point in Bell’s career, if he truly wants to continue playing, he can’t be choosy when it comes to his next team. It’s likely that Bell will have to settle for a much smaller contract than he believes he’s worth, but if 2021 is in fact the year that we’re “reminded” of what Bell is capable of, Bell will have to start swallowing his pride. Andy Reid is well-known for having his halfbacks heavily involved in his offensive gameplans, so if he comes calling Bell, Bell better be willing to pick up that phone and head to the Chiefs training facility. I’m not sure a better offer will come his way anytime soon.