The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base is about to endure something they were hoping they wouldn’t have to endure. That would be watching a Super Bowl with two former superstar Steelers players squaring off.
As Antonio Brown, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Le’Veon Bell, with the Kansas City Chiefs, prepare for the Super Bowl with their respective teams, the lead up to the game has players in front of media, virtually, answering questions. As Bell hit the virtual podium he was asked about several aspects of his career, one being his decision to sit out the entire 2018 season before hitting free agency.
Bell stuck to his guns, and said he didn’t regret the decision. In fact, he almost doubled down on the decision and said it will help him in the back end of his career.
Le'Veon Bell, answering a great Q from @TerezPaylor, says he doesn't regret the year-long hold out in Pittsburgh:— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 2, 2021
"Me sitting out, it helped me on the back end of my career. It felt like I was a rookie all over again ... It reset my body. It helped me for the end of my career."
Bell cited the decision to sit out 2018 helped him body, but the statistics say something entirely different. After choosing the New York Jets as his next team, Bell put up the following numbers while a member of the Jets in 2019, and part of 2020:
2019: 15 games, 789 yards, 3 TD, 3.2 yards per carry / 66 receptions, 461 yards, 1 TD
2020: 11 games, 328 yards, 2 TD, 4.0 yards per carry / 16 receptions, 138, 0 TD
Bell, now 28 years old, might say the year off helped him in the long run, but you have to wonder if he will even get the opportunity to prove that to be true. Since leaving the Steelers he has been a shell of his former self, and looks more and more like a running back who fit perfectly into a scheme. Without that scheme, he merely looks like an average running back.
During his media availability, Bell admits he was keeping a close eye on the Steelers during their 11-0 start to the 2020 regular season, and was even hoping to face his former team again in the postseason.
Le'Veon Bell says he was keeping an eye on the Steelers during the 11-0 streak and thought he might end up facing his former team in the playoffs -- and would've liked that.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 2, 2021
At the end of this season Bell will be looking for a new team, but some wonder if he will even be active during the Super Bowl. Bell was inactive for the AFC Championship game when the Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium due to a knee injury. Either way, Bell could be looking at a Super Bowl ring to add to his trophy case, even though he doesn’t look like the former All-Pro running back.
Steelers fans will cringe watching either Brown or Bell get a Super Bowl ring this Sunday with their new respective teams.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.