Le'Veon Bell’s market isn’t nearly as strong as it once was, but that didn’t stop him from trashing his most recent employer over the weekend.
That employer — the Chiefs — and its head coach, Andy Reid, took the high road when asked about Bell’s comments Thursday.
“I enjoyed my time with him,” Reid said of Bell. “I’m pulling for him. That’s how I roll. I wish him the best.”
Once regarded as arguably the best running back in the NFL, Bell hasn’t been anywhere near that status since he returned to action following his decision to sit out of the 2018 season instead of playing under the franchise tag with the Steelers. Bell maximized his value in the following offseason with the Jets, signing a four-year deal worth $52.5 million, but joined a team that ultimately proved to be headed nowhere.
Bell also ended up going nowhere in New York, gaining 789 yards on 245 attempts (3.2 yards per carry) in his first season with the Jets and just 74 yards on 19 attempts with the Jets before they tried and failed to trade him, leading to his release.
Bell landed with the Chiefs a few days later, joining with a superpower that would eventually land in another Super Bowl. He was a marginal factor at best, carrying the ball 63 times for 254 yards and two scores in nine regular-season games with Kansas City. He carried the ball twice in the Chiefs’ Divisional Round win over the Browns, then didn’t see another touch for the remainder of the postseason.
Bell spoke of the decision to sit out and the resulting physical benefits in the lead-up to Super Bowl LV, then didn’t appear in the actual game. Perhaps he’s still bitter about that outcome, but a realist would point to the presence of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Kansas City’s offensive approach, which didn’t exactly include giving Bell the ball 20 times in a game many expected to be a shootout.
In the end, Bell’s Chiefs scored just nine points. He didn’t record a single down played. And he didn’t have a single second thought about airing his grievances on social media this week.
One might think that would hurt his market, but at this stage, Bell hasn’t produced enough to truly warrant a potential headache. He hasn’t provided those unless he’s unhappy, which happened at the end of his time in both Pittsburgh and New York. His discontent with the Chiefs just didn’t arrive until later.
We can’t predict where Bell might land at this stage, but we can almost guarantee the 29-year-old won’t be in Kansas City in 2021.
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