Le’veon Bell has put the exclamation point on one of the hardest falls from grace in recent NFL memory. Once thought to push Jerome Bettis and Franco Harris as the Steelers all-time greatest running back, Bell has flushed away his amazing potential and many are wondering will he ever play another snap in the NFL. From drug charges, to hold outs, and now talking ill of a respected head coach here’s a recap of Le’Veon Bell’s spiraling career.
August 2014 - DUI and marijuana possession - Suspended
The first negative instance in the career of Le’Veon Bell was when he and fellow teammate LeGarrette Blount were arrested for driving under the influence and position of marijuana. Bell was originally suspended for the first four games of the 2014/15 season but an appeal reduced the suspension to two games.
August 2016 - Violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy - Suspended
The following year while being in the NFL’s substance of abuse program he broke the rules earning himself another suspension. NFL Players who find themselves in the substance of abuse program have stricter rules following them including ramped up monthly testing. Bell would state the failed test was due to missing a scheduled appointment which the NFL would originally suspend the running back four games for. This suspension was also reduced but to three games.
2017 - First contract holdout
After receiving his first franchise tag designation Bell sat out all of the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason activities including OTA’s, mini camp, off field programs, and the entirety of training camp. Bell would sign his deal just prior to Week 1 and was given the starting duties right away.
2018 - Second contract holdout - Declined Steelers final offer
When the Steelers slapped Bell with his second franchise tag the runner opted to not only miss out on offseason activities but the entire regular season as well. By missing the year Bell didn't make a penny on the 17 million dollar valuation of the tag. He also tuned down the Steelers final contract offer which was upwards of 5 years and 70 million dollars. Sure, the guaranteed money wasn't nearly that high but that's not how the Steelers structure any deal. If Bell performed well the Steelers most likely would have restructured his deal on a yearly basis making most of that money guaranteed anyway.
March 2019 - Signed to play behind the worst offensive line in the NFL
The contract offer Bell was waiting for never came. Instead, he took what was likely the best offer on the table without actually thinking about the fit. Bell’s patient running style was lethal behind the Steelers solid offensive line. The Jets however had a terrible line and his patient running got him killed behind the line of scrimmage.
March 2019 - Critical of Ben Roethlisberger
After Bell signed with the Steelers he jumped in on the slagging Ben Roethlisberger tour which was guided by Antonio Brown staying: “Ben wants to win — but Ben wants to win his way, and that’s tough to play with. Ben won a Super Bowl, but he won when he was younger. Now he’s at this stage where he tries to control everything, and [the team] let him get there” .
Instead of being humble on his way out Bell ran his mouthed burned bridges. A theme of what was to come with his next few teams.
October 2020 - Demanded a trade - Released
The Bell/Jets marriage was doomed from the moment the former All-Pro signed the contract. Fed up of playing for a terrible team Bell demanded a trade. The problem was a year an a half of terrible production and an inflated contract made him un-acquirable. The Jets would have to bite the bullet and release Bell to get him off the team. Much like with Ben Roethlisberger, Bell made sure he was never welcome back to New York after his release.
June 2021 - Critical statement about Andy Reid
Before I get to Bell’s statement about Andy Reid it’s also notable that Le’Veon once again put himself in a bad situation. The Chiefs loaded offense was a pass heavy scheme and had a number of skilled running backs ahead of him on the depth chart. The combination of the two meant Bell played exactly 0 snaps in this year’s Super Bowl game. More bad production, but for a successful team, further tanked Bell’s contract worth.
After his time in Kansas City was up Bell wanted his feelings known about the situation taking to social media to slam Andy Reid “I’ll never play for Andy Reid again... I’d retire first”. That phrase motivated many long time Chiefs who defended their coach. But once again Bell made the situation about himself and this time no team wanted to offer him a contract before hand and certainly don't want to after.
A wise man once told me, that if you met a rude person in the morning but went the rest of your day without meeting another rude person, you had a bad experience. But if you meet rude people all day long, then you’re the rude person. Given the fact Bell has complained about every team he’s ever played for, it should be time we start pointing the finger at Le’Veon Bell for ruining his own career. He has no one to blame but himself and should be the poster boy of what not to do when you get into the NFL.